YORKSHIRE’s Jonny Bairstow is a much more mature cricketer as he re-establishes his international career after an 18-month hiatus.
Bairstow is set for his third Test in less than a month today as England seek a 4-1 home Ashes success at The Oval.
He endured a false start, through none of his own making, in his comeback innings at Edgbaston – where Mitchell Johnson had him caught behind with a near unplayable bouncer.
But Bairstow made an important half-century at Trent Bridge to help regain the urn – and this week he has the chance to join in another historic achievement if England can chalk up four Test wins in a home Ashes series for the first time.
By contrast, 18 months elapsed between the Yorkshireman’s 14th and 15th caps – but at the age of 25, he can reflect on time well spent away from the international limelight.
“It has been a case of cracking on and finding out things for yourself,” said Bairstow.
“There can be a lot of hype around, and I think that is something I’ve dealt with better than when I was a young lad.
“When you come in you want to hear and read things about you doing well – but now I don’t need to do that.”
Bairstow knows there are sure to be more ups and downs.
“Everyone has got an opinion and a job to do, and being able to move on from that is important,” he added.
“Learning from being slated one minute to being praised the next is an important skill to have.
“It is two years on – and I’ve got more experience playing for Yorkshire, and more experience in life generally. I’ve been lucky to experience a lot at quite a young age.”
It was a case in point that he was able to shelve rather than dwell on the disappointment of Birmingham.
“If you get one like that then you get one, and you think ‘Oh well, maybe next time’,” Bairstow said.
“You can look at it two ways; you can take your bat home and wonder what more you could have done, or you can know that you’ve done everything and it just didn’t go your way.”
Unlike Bairstow, Australia opener Chris Rogers must come to terms imminently with the end of the road in Test cricket.
Rogers, 38 at the end of this month, has confirmed he will retire – alongside Australia captain Michael Clarke – after the Oval Test. His one regret is that he will not be doing so with an Ashes series triumph
“I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a lot of disappointment among the group,” he said.
“We came here to win, and we’ve been outplayed. (But) this is a big last game.”
Meanwhile, England captain Alastair Cook has announced that James Anderson has not fully recovered from a side strain and will miss today’s fifth and final Ashes Test against Australia at The Oval, with the team set to be unchanged.