Bairstow wants England to keep the winning feeling
Jonny Bairstow says England’s World Cup win is assured regardless of what happens in the Ashes – but he is desperate to complete a golden summer in style.
It is a little more than two weeks since Bairstow played his part in one of the most dramatic finals in sporting history, one which drew more than eight million viewers as the national side’s return to free-to-air television ended in glory.
Bairstow would dearly love to have an unprecedented double on his CV but is confident that the positive impact of England’s tournament triumph will linger long after the five Tests against Australia are in the record books – win, lose or draw.
“I don’t think you can ever take the memories of the World Cup win away,” he said ahead of Thursday’s opening day at Edgbaston. “I don’t think that will be lost if we didn’t win the Ashes.
“You can never take the memories of celebrating in Trafalgar Square away from the people who were there, or the memories of people who were in the pub watching with their mates or those down at cricket clubs. There was a euphoria around the whole country.
“There have been other series since the 2005 Ashes but everyone remembers that fondly, there have been rugby World Cups since the win in 2003 but the impact of it wasn’t lost.
“So there will be a longer lasting effect of the World Cup win beyond this summer – but we want to win the Ashes as well. We want to keep the momentum we’ve got going in what is the biggest summer of English cricket we’ve had and probably will have for a long, long time.”
Bairstow was speaking at King’s Heath Cricket Club, where he took part in a Specsavers training session with partially sighted team Birmingham Vision. Hopes are high that participation levels will receive a shot in the arm on the back of England’s exploits and Bairstow is well aware how important that would be.
He continued: “It would have a great effect on every level of the game if we were able to pull it off, whether it be men’s, women’s, disability cricket or just people taking the game up for the first time.
“It’s great if we can have that kind of impact.”
Bairstow has already been back in his England whites since the World Cup concluded, declining the offer of a rest to line up in the rollercoaster Test win over Ireland.
While Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler did sit the game out, Bairstow insisted on getting back out on the field and resuming his red-ball wicketkeeping duties.
He was dismissed for a duck in both innings but a fine one-handed catch as the hosts pressed for victory in the second innings ensured it was not a wasted venture.
“I didn’t want to be going into the first Ashes Test having not kept – I wanted to get back keeping and (have) the rhythm of my keeping. That was the main reason for playing in the Ireland game,” said the Yorkshireman.
“(The pair) was my first time in 12 years so I’m absolutely not worried about that, hopefully it’s another 12 years before the next and we’ll be all right.”
::Jonny Bairstow trained with the Birmingham Vision partially sighted cricket team ahead of the Specsavers Ashes series opener at Edgbaston.