Jonny Bairstow is optimistic that a strong showing with the bat in England’s T20I series against New Zealand can propel him back into the Test squad ahead of the English summer.
Bairstow was left out of the touring red-ball party for the upcoming tour, but feels his form in the five-match limited-overs series could help him to force his way back into the reckoning ahead of the national side’s tours of South Africa and Sri Lanka.
"I don't see why T20 performance cannot influence Test selection," he said. "If you're scoring runs - no matter the format - it definitely influences things.
"We saw Jason Roy picked for The Ashes off the back of ODIs and Jos Buttler came back into the Test team in 2018 after impressing in the IPL.
"I don't mind if I keep. I just want to return to the squad to try and get back in the side. Wherever that may be hopefully there's an opportunity that arises and hopefully I'll be able to take that when it does."
Despite the disappointment of missing out on a place in Joe Root’s latest Test party, Bairstow is determined to use his time away from competitive cricket wisely as he plots a return to the setup.
The Yorkshireman’s record at Trent Bridge, venue for the final Test of the 2020 English summer, is exemplary, having hit two centuries and four fifties for his county on the ground.
Bairstow’s half-century on day one of the third Ashes Test in 2015, meanwhile, made the destiny of the urn certain after Stuart Broad’s opening-session blitz routed the old enemy for 60.
And the 30-year-old hopes his game will be in peak condition by the time of England’s next encounter in Nottingham.
“I'm excited about having some time to work on things without necessarily being watched on telly or having my game stripped down," he said.
"With the busy schedule, I've not been able to do that for four or five years.
"I'll get myself in a peak physical, mental and technical state so I can go from the T20s into two or three weeks' solid work in England working on my game. I've already had some net sessions in the past week and they have gone well.
"To refresh and re-focus is important. I want to represent England in all formats. I'll work hard in the time I have and hopefully impress enough to be in contention for South Africa."
As part of his preparations for the English Test summer, Bairstow hopes to spend more time honing his skills against the red ball than he managed to secure ahead of the summer’s Ashes.
"We didn't play red-ball cricket for the best part of five months - from the Caribbean tour to July I think it was - and then not having any county games to get back into was potentially difficult," he said.
"You could see that some people had played more red ball cricket than others throughout the Ashes series and that's on both sides. Marnus Labuschagne and Cameron Bancroft came into it after having played county cricket. It was bound to happen with scheduling a World Cup and Ashes in the same summer."
International cricket is back at Trent Bridge in 2020, with England hosting a Test against Pakistan and an ODI against Ireland.
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