Dhaka - He's already become the most prolific wicketkeeping
batsman in a calendar year and with six Tests still to go, Jonny Bairstow has
the opportunity to set a record beyond reach - and silence his critics once and
"It's a pretty amazing feeling," said England's
Bairstow as he reflected on his achievement in shattering Andy Flower's 16-year
record for most runs by a gloveman in Test match cricket.
"There were a few mumbles floating around that I wasn't
good enough," he admitted ahead of the second Test against Bangladesh
which begins on Friday.
"You go back maybe two years and there are people
writing you off to never play Test cricket again, (so) to then come back and
prove a few people wrong with the way that I've been playing..."
The sentence was left unfinished but the normally
self-effacing Yorkshireman is understandably proud of his achievements since
the turn of the year, both with the bat and the gloves.
During the first Test in Chittagong, Bairstow surged past
Flower's tally of 1 045 runs in a calendar year during a match-winning
partnership with Ben Stokes.
It leaves him just 390 runs short of Michael Vaughan's tally
of 1,481 runs in 2002, the record for the most runs by any Englishman from
January to December.
With England due to embark on a five-Test tour of India
straight after the second Bangladesh Test, Bairstow should have ample
opportunity to chase down that record.
The volume of cricket means selectors are likely to rotate
players but Bairstow will resist any offer of a rest, especially given how hard
he has fought to regain his place after being dropped following England's
disastrous tour to Australia three winters ago.
Bairstow has also taken 53 dismissals in his 11 Tests behind
the stumps so far this year, more than any of his peers.
"There's still a lot of cricket to play this year, and
hopefully I can carry on in the same vein with the bat and the gloves,"
"Having missed out for 18 months after the Ashes and
going away and working on my game and playing for Yorkshire and earning your
place back, you want to play as many games as you can for England in every
single format going.
"It's only natural that a guy that's in the team wants
to keep being in the team and playing all the time."
His main rival is Jos Buttler, who impressed many by leading
the side in the ODI series that preceded the Tests in Bangladesh after regular
skipper Eoin Morgan refused to travel over security fears.
Bairstow has been criticised for his keeping, particularly
at the start of the last English summer, but he had arguably his most
accomplished game behind the stumps on a sharply turning surface in Chittagong.
The 27-year-old, whose late father also kept wicket for
England, said he enjoyed being "in the game every single ball" but
was aware that a couple of dropped chances would revive doubts about his
"I know how quickly things can change and the hard work
that has to be done to keep improving. It went well but there might be two
chances I put down in the next game," he said.
"If I'm going unnoticed and keeping well that's the
best way forward me, and I was very pleased to get some positive comments."