Jonny Bairstow is thrilled to be part of England’s “new journey” at Lord’s this week, just days after arriving back from the Indian Premier League.
Bairstow has been on the road for most of the winter and only returned from his stint with Punjab Kings last Monday, just in time to join up ahead of Thursday’s first Test against New Zealand.
A well-earned break might have appealed but, with captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum kicking off their leadership regime having recently been installed as captain and head coach, there is only one place Bairstow wants to be.
“I don’t want a rest. I’ve never been one for resting when there’s opportunities to play for England,” he said.
“It is extremely special and that has always been my goal, to play for England as long as I can. Lord’s is a fantastic place for us to be to start the new journey, it all begins on Thursday and it should be great fun. It’s exciting.”
McCullum took training for the first time on Monday morning, assisted by long-standing assistants Paul Collingwood and Jon Lewis. The Kiwi has already had one major influence on English cricket, with the Black Caps side he captained providing the template for Eoin Morgan’s World Cup -winning team of 2019.
Bairstow was a key player in the white-ball transformation and is looking forward to being part of McCullum’s red-ball overhaul.
“Baz is someone I’ve always wanted to work with. He’s someone I’ve played against and grown up watching and was very intrigued by,” he said.
“He’s someone I’ve looked up to in many ways for the way he went about his cricket. I’m really excited about the prospect of hopefully working with him for a long period of time.
“The experience he has got, playing all those games for New Zealand and his coaching experience he’s got, he can bring that to the guys.
“The brand of cricket we played with the white-ball stuff was really exciting and I’m sure with the way Ben plays red-ball cricket, the way Baz played red and white-ball cricket, I’m sure there’ll be things that rub off within the environment within the next weeks, months and years.
“There’s a lot of positivity around the group, first and foremost.”