Bairstow's 'natural style' comes good

Bairstow's 'natural style' comes good

The debutant struck a 21-ball 41 (2x4, 3x6) and shared an unbroken 75-run stand with Ravi Bopara to shut the door on India. “What a way to make an international statement,” gushed one-day skipper Alastair Cook after the match. “I think we've just found a player. I don't want to heap too much pressure on him. But to make your debut like that and go and play in such a controlled way but in such a positive way was incredible.

“Everyone in the dressing room was saying we’ve just found one. All credit to Jonny for that. It’s never always going to be plain sailing, but he looks like an outstanding prospect,” he observed.

The Yorkshire player came in as replacement for the injured Ben Stokes and made an immediate impact, winning the man of the match award. Bairstow comes from a cricketing lineage. His father David kept for England in four Tests and 21 ODIs but his feats in the County circuit are legendary. Brother Andy too briefly played first-class cricket for Derbyshire. Bairstow had a tough upbringing with his father committing suicide when he was eight.

“I just wanted to go out and play my natural game,” he said later. “It wasn't necessarily easy, and it was really pleasing the way it turned out in the end. Ravi played outstandingly well. There were obviously some nerves. That's only natural, and you've just got to turn them into something positive. It was a new challenge and something I really enjoyed.”

The dressing-room atmosphere, Bairstow pointed out, made it easy. “A massive part of it is how the guys, the captain and the coach, make you feel when you come into the set-up. You’re made to feel completely at home.”