Bairstow keen to grasp India chance
Jonny Bairstow cannot wait for the opportunity to further establish himself as a Test batsman during England’s tour of India.
Bairstow put behind him early struggles in the five-day arena at the end of last summer, brilliantly striking 95 and 54 against South Africa’s much-vaunted attack at Lord’s.
That puts the Yorkshireman in the frame to earn playing time in the sub-continent, where England will tackle India in four Tests over the next two months.
“It should be fantastic,” he told ecb.co.uk prior to flying to India. “Obviously, it is going to be a massive challenge and will be my first Test trip away.
“A couple of months in India will no doubt bring its own challenges, obviously on and off the pitch, but I think everybody is looking forward to it.
“I was pretty pleased with the summer. I had some ups and downs, but to finish it the way that I did was really pleasing.
“To play against South Africa and do as well as I did, even though I fell five runs short (of a century). Last summer was something I’ll look back upon with fond memories.
“It gave me the belief I can play at this level. It was obviously a world-class attack and the situation I came in at was not necessarily the easiest.
“It was pleasing, but I am under no illusions and it is only going to be even more hard work from here that will take me forward.”
While Bairstow will not be faced with the pace and bounce delivered by Morne Morkel et al in India, he is aware of the different challenges that await.
“There will not only be spin,” he added, "but also reverse-swing and they have obviously got some exceptional bowlers in their conditions and around the world.
“It will be a tough test, but something that we are all looking forward to and have been preparing for.”
England’s record in India - they have not won there since 1985 - illustrates the task Alastair Cook’s men face.
Bairstow, meanwhile, is also aware of the challenges that will come off the field, with the home side’s fanatical supporters sure to follow England at every turn.
He said: “There has been some tough times in India, but, at the same time, I think we have got a method away from the cricket that will help us be successful.
“It is a completely different culture out there, but it will not be the first time that some of the lads have been out there.”