Bairstow wants to play all formats of the game for ‘as long as possible’

England batter Jonny Bairstow said he wants to play all three formats of the game for “as long as possible”, despite his team-mate, all-rounder Ben Stokes recently retiring from ODI cricket at the age of 31 and Australia batter Usman Khawaja admitting that it is tough playing all formats in international cricket.

“I don’t know if it’s good or bad that I’m one of the last all-format players. But naturally there are challenges, we’ve seen that over a period of time now. We only had to look at the Test series this summer when there was the one-day squad in Holland at the same time.

“I think even if you look at the back end of this summer as well, there are the seven T20s in Pakistan that pretty much overlap with the last Test match. And it even goes back to the last World Cup where then you fly straight to the Ashes with a week’s preparation after quarantining, then straight into the Test match,” said Bairstow to Sky Sports Cricket.

In the home summer for England this year, Bairstow is one of the very rare all-format players. He played in Tests against New Zealand and India, playing a huge hand in victories. He then played ODIs against India and is featuring in 50-over matches against South Africa. Bairstow will play the T20Is against the Proteas and is scheduled to play three matches in The Hundred before Test series against South Africa comes.

“But you know me well enough now: I’ll be trying to play all of them for as long as possible. I’ll be going all out for as long as I can. There might come a time when you do have to make a decision for different reasons, but that’s part and parcel of life and cricket.

“In the near future I can’t see me making a choice because I’m loving being part of all three squads. They’re all individual squads and they’re great to be a part of. It’s exciting. You go into a new one and you’ve got a freshness and new faces and energy around them, because you’re going into a new format,” added Bairstow.

Amidst the talk over future of bilateral series, especially of the 50-over cricket at risk, Bairstow insisted he still loves ODIs and warned young players of the danger in committing only to T20 cricket. “I think it is a really good format. The journey we have been on as a group to get to (winning) the 2019 World Cup was amazing.

“I also think that 50-over cricket is in some ways a stepping stone into Test cricket. You get worked over for longer, you sometimes have to grind out difficult periods and play good cricket shots. The middle overs, especially are a lot like Test cricket.

“There is the lure of playing in T20 leagues and making a quick buck, let’s be honest about that. But, everything comes from your basic technique, which you learn in four-day cricket – and then you expand from that.”

Citing the example of premier England batter Joe Root, Bairstow elaborated, “Look at (Joe) Root, for instance, his technique is fantastic and then he takes that from Test cricket to 50-over cricket, to T20 cricket… and all he does is expand his game.

“I think if you try to just look at T20 cricket, it can be tricky in some ways because that is a rollercoaster that can go very quickly. Your bread and butter is your four-day cricket, your 50-over cricket and then your T20 cricket, make an impact in that to then go forward and enable you to have more longevity in it.”

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