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Flower: Bairstow a work in progress

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Andy Flower spoke exclusively to ecb.co.uk after the Edgbaston Test

England team director Andy Flower insists the experience gained during the Investec Test Series against West Indies will stand Jonny Bairstow in good stead.

The 22-year-old batsman was given his chance in the five-day side at the expense of then out-of-form Eoin Morgan, following an encouraging start to his limited-overs international career.

Bairstow endured a challenging baptism with the bat, scoring 38 runs in the three-match rubber that England won 2-0 - but impressed in the field with the run-out of Kirk Edwards on debut at Lord’s.

Although he has a lot more to learn on the international stage, Flower has backed Bairstow to have a bright future for England.

“He is a very promising player is Jonny Bairstow. He is a very clean striker of the ball, very hungry to do well and is a quick learner,” he told ecb.co.uk.

Jonny Bairstow & Andy Flower

"He is a very clean striker of the ball, very hungry to do well and is a quick learner," England team director Andy Flower said of Jonny Bairstow

"He is a very exciting prospect for England, but I think we should all remain patient with Jonny in that he is only 22 years old. Some of the little skills and soft touches that are required to survive in Test cricket are things he will learn.

“Remember he has had an influence on limited-overs cricket for England already; he has contributed significantly to two wins in only a few chances.

"We believe he has a high ceiling and he will certainly be a smarter and better cricketer for his experiences in this Test series.”

Following an indifferent winter in the United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka, captain Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell both returned to form against Darren Sammy’s side.

Strauss struck two hundreds and Bell compiled three half-centuries, two unbeaten, which along with the consistent performances of the bowlers left Flower delighted.

“Bell and Strauss getting back into great form and being really consistent has been one of the excellent things to come out of this series,” he said.

“As has the form of the fast bowlers, again getting 20 wickets in the first two Tests and standing up when they were asked to do so.”

The omissions of James Anderson and Stuart Broad for the final Test at Edgbaston allowed Graham Onions and Steven Finn recalls to the England side.

They shared seven wickets in the Windies' only innings and Flower was pleased to see the duo back on the international scene.

“Onions has been a superb performer for England when he has had the chance,” Flower added. “He’s also had a superb start to the domestic season, he’s averaging 12 in first-class cricket.

“He picked up some wickets here and could have had more if we had caught our catches. I was very pleased to see Onions and Finn operating in this game.

“It shows strength in depth, although it was interesting to see that we couldn’t knock over their tail very easily.

“They (Denesh Ramdin and Tino Best) put on a record partnership which wasn’t great to see, but it was instructive. Finn, Onions and (Tim) Bresnan will be better Test performers for the experience they have had here in Birmingham over the last couple of days.

“The experience of Anderson and Broad may well have come to bear during the last-wicket stand, but the experience gained from been exposed to the Test game here for Finn and Onions might stand us as a team in good stead for South Africa.”

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