Jonny Bairstow said he is “excited and intrigued” by the arrival of Brendon McCollum as England Test coach and the prospect of a new era for his side.
Bairstow arrived in England last Monday after the Punjab kings were knocked out of the Indian Premier League and thrown into a whirlwind as he prepares for England’s first Test against New Zealand, which begins at Lords on Thursday.
“I am definitely intrigued by the combination of his cricket and his coaching style and how they all fit together, the achievements he has had on and off the field and how that fits into test cricket and our English game.” , Birstow said of McCollum.
“It’s about conquering the wicket, going out and winning key periods of the game, winning cricket matches. That’s what we want to do. It takes time to play that way, but I’m sure there will be things that will come out over the next few weeks, months and years.”
There is also the possibility of what Bairstow called an “exciting partnership” developing between McCollum and new captain, Ben Stokes, although he does not expect a major change in his teammate.
“I don’t think it will change,” Birstow said.
“I believe that the experiences he has had in his football career and in life will all put him in a good position over time. And those experiences, whether good or bad, will also allow him to maintain his composure when tested.”
The 32-year-old said he was ‘happy with how I came out of winter’ after outpacing England’s batting average in the ashes – having played only three and four games – and scoring his highest Test result in nearly six years while on tour. West Indies before attending the IPL.
“Of course I was disappointed because I didn’t start in Australia, but I was happy with my reaction and also with the way I played. You don’t get easy rounds – when you need to do hard rounds, these are the rewarding ones. When you have to score hard runs and stick to the team, that’s What I am most proud of. This is the exciting part.”
Despite being a few weeks away from cricket since the start of last summer, Birstow – who McCollum confirmed would strike in fifth – said the idea would grow upon his return from India, where players’ movement has been severely restricted. Respite from the constant threat of Covid unrest ‘never even crossed my mind’
He said, “I’m satisfied with where my body is. Hopefully that’s the end of Bubbles now, which is also exciting because it gives you an extra boost of freshness to be able to do some normal things – just leave your hotel or have conversations other than Zoom. So It’s exciting to be back in Lourdes and next Thursday it will be completely bubbly.”
With the batting line-up set to appear, the only uncertainty about the England squad lies with the bowlers. Matt Potts of Durham, a tailor in the country with 35 wickets in six county championship games, would call his family to Lords if he made his debut.
“It wasn’t on the radar at all earlier in the year so it’s going to be a great moment – the climax of cricket at home cricket,” he said. “I honestly wouldn’t change anything about what got me here – I’m just going to run and sprint hard, grab my kind of zones and see if that works.”
New Zealand on Monday announced a 15-man squad for the three Test series, keeping Michael Braseywell in reserve in case there were complications with Henry Nichols’ recovery from a calf injury.
Team manager Gary Stead said on Monday the left-hander was “going really well but it’s not a start at the moment” while making a late decision on Trent Bolt, who arrived in England on Monday after playing in the Indian Premier League finals. With Rajasthan Royals on Sunday.