Bairstow aims to do his family proud
Jonny Bairstow's Test debut is bound to be an emotional occasion for his family, and many others - but he knows he must keep his cool to really do himself and them proud.
Bairstow is set to become only the 13th son in the history of English cricket to follow his father into the Test arena. His late father David played four Tests between 1979 and 1981.
When his son makes his debut against West Indies on Thursday, which he looks likely to do after being named yesterday as one of six specialist batsmen in a 13-man squad, the 22-year-old Yorkshireman's mother and sister will be at Lord's to watch.
Bairstow has played only twice before at the home of cricket, and then in limited-overs matches only for his native county.
But England have placed their faith in him to handle centre stage, and he insists he will not let the occasion distract him from what he needs to do.
”(It will be) the same as every other day – there is a guy at the other end with a ball in his hand, and you've got to face it," he said.
”It will be a proud moment if selected, and my family will be very proud. But at the end of the day it is another game of cricket. You can't do anything but face the ball the other guy is going to bowl at you.
”If the ball is there to be hit then it has to be hit, or defend and leave it.”
Bairstow was only eight when his father, like him a wicketkeeper-batsman, died.
He has always been a talented all-round sportsman, but it was no surprise when his cricketing ability took over and propelled him into a professional career.
”Playing for England is a massive ambition, and something I grew up as a boy dreaming of doing,” he said.
”Obviously doing it here at Lord's, the home of cricket, is something that is special - to say the least.”
Bairstow is not about to be fazed by that number 13 statistic either.
”It's a good job I'm not superstitious,” he said.
”It will be fantastic. My dad played for England, so to do it as well will be a fantastic achievement and a proud day for my family.”
Many good judges are already predicting Bairstow, who produced a man-of-the-match innings on his international debut in a 50-over fixture against India in Cardiff last September, will go on to a long and distinguished Test career.
He, however, will not be buying into any of the hype and will concentrate instead on making sure he produces the goods.
”It is a boyhood dream, but we can only go from there,” he said.
”Every time you go on the pitch there is an opportunity to express yourself - whether that is in a school match, club game, county game, (England) Lions or England game.
”It is an opportunity, something I will be looking forward to, and it will be tough.”
One thing Bairstow will have to set aside, at least temporarily, is his wicketkeeping - because Matt Prior does that job for England, officially better than anyone else for any other country.
”I am enjoying my keeping, but at the moment the world's number one keeper is keeping in the Test side,” Bairstow said.
”He is doing fantastically well, so I am pleased to get the call as a batsman.”
In front of the stumps, Bairstow - who followed two hundreds for Yorkshire already this year with a 50 for England Lions against West Indies at Northampton in his last innings - has a reputation for making runs when they are needed most.
”It is a good attribute to have,” he said. ”You don't want someone that cries off when the chips are down.
”It is good to have the willpower and want to dig a team out of a situation. It is something that comes naturally to me.”