Bairstow optimistic about England’s Champions Trophy and World Cup chances

“I firmly believe we’re a special squad”

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

England wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow sees no reason why the national team cannot win the Champions Trophy in June and the 2019 World Cup, especially as both tournaments will be held in their backyard.

England have had disappointing showings in global events over the last few years as in the 2015 World Cup, they failed to make the quarter-finals after being stunned by Bangladesh.

The last time they got their hands on a major piece of silverware was when they won the World Twenty20 back in 2010.

Bairstow, though, feels that his side should be doing a lot better in International Cricket Council (ICC) competitions and pointed out that they must turn their fortunes around and get back on the road to success by winning the Champions Trophy.

“We know if we put the performances together like we’ve been doing 80-90 per cent of the time we can bring those together in quarter-finals, semi-finals, final – and there’s no reason why we can’t go and win the Champions Trophy and a World Cup,” he said. “The group of players we’ve got, I firmly believe we’re a special squad.”

England are currently in the Caribbean for a short three-match ODI series against the West Indies and Bairstow wants the national team to use the tour as a means to get rid of the bad memories of their recent tour of India, where they were beaten 4-0 in the Test series and 2-1 in both the ODI and Twenty20 series.

“We had chances to win that series in India,” Bairstow admitted. “We didn’t capitalise on the opportunities we potentially had, but also played some good cricket.”

While Bairstow has been a regular face in England’s Test side, his opportunities to play limited overs cricket have been a lot more sporadic.

Nonetheless, the 27-year-old is willing to fight for his place and aims to cement it by putting up a string of strong performances, which is he confident about doing since he excelled with the bat when he last visited the Caribbean.

“I scored 98 here last time – I think it was the first time with my new technique,” he said. “I guess match-wise this was the first place I took the leap and tried something different – and I’ve stuck with it.

“I ended up playing against the lads, and then things kicked on from there. So (there are) good memories coming back here.”

The Bradford native added that England will also have revenge on their minds as when they last played the West Indies, it was in the final of the 2016 World Twenty20, where Carlos Brathwaite smashed four successive sixes off the final over of the match, which was being bowled by Ben Stokes, to lead the West Indies to a superb come-from-behind win.

“The last time we played against West Indies in the Twenty20 didn’t go our way, so that’s something we want to put right,” Bairstow said.

In regards to his role in limited overs cricket, Bairstow made it clear that he is willing to bat anywhere, just as long as he is included in the playing XI.

“I’ve said on a number of occasions as long as I can get into that XI, I don’t care where I bat,” he said. “I’d like to think the form I’ve been in over the last 18 months is strong enough to push my case.

“Opening wouldn’t faze me, because you face the second new ball [at number five] in Test cricket – so going in against the new white ball that doesn’t swing as long as the new red ball, there’s no reasons why I couldn’t handle that pressure.”

Meanwhile, Bairstow was one of the England players who failed to attract any bids at the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction on Monday, but he was extremely happy for pace bowler Tymal Mills, who was snapped up by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for INR 12 crore (approximately USD 1.8 million), which made him the highest paid specialist bowler in IPL history.

“It was a shot-to-nothing,” he said. “It wasn’t something I was resting my life on. If the opportunity arose, fantastic, but it hasn’t.

“I think his base price was £60,000… going up to £1.4 million. It’s ridiculous money, (you) can’t begrudge him. With his body, he can’t play other formats. He’s done very well, and I’m sure he’s pretty pleased.”

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