JONNY BAIRSTOW believes England are a long way from peaking at the World Cup but is inspired by the thought of regaling any future grandchildren about the next few months.
The hosts and favourites started with a convincing win over South Africa and have bounced back from a surprise defeat to Pakistan by brushing aside Bangladesh and West Indies.
Bairstow, who will also be eyeing Ashes glory later this summer, believes there is plenty more to come from the one-day team, who continue their campaign against Afghanistan at Old Trafford today.
He said: ‘To be able to hopefully say you’ve played in both and hopefully won both — that’s the big thing, that’s what you want to be doing — is something that you [would] look back on.
‘Everyone talks about those moments, “something to tell the grandkids”. Well, it really would be something to tell the grandkids.
‘And to be part of a side that’s got the potential to win the World Cup, especially at home, is spine-tingling, to be quite honest. It’s alright talking about it but if you don’t get there, then it doesn’t matter.
‘Generally I think we’re playing pretty good cricket. There’s still a lot we can improve on to get that perfect game. There’s enough games left in order to keep pulling those together and hopefully they come in the latter rounds of the competition.’ Bairstow was out for a golden duck in the first game but has rebounded with 32, 51 and 45 in his last three innings, healthy contributions while not being particularly match-shaping.
Joe Root has already amassed two centuries, with injured opening partner Jason Roy — who will be replaced by James Vince in Manchester today — and Jos Buttler also going to three figures, and Bairstow feels a momentous innings of his own is coming.
He added: ‘I feel good. Obviously I want to get a couple of big scores.
‘I’ve started off alright and I’m striking the ball well, so it’s just a case of when it clicks.
‘And then when you go big and you go really big, that’s all it is. But we’ve been lucky enough that we’ve had four hundreds in four games. Joe’s got two, Jos has got one and Jason’s got one, so I’m due. And it’s all the Js — I’m next!’
■ THE way England have dealt with injuries to two key batsmen highlighted the confidence within the camp, says Jonny Bairstow. Despite Jason Roy and Eoin Morgan picking up injuries while fielding, England romped to an eight-wicket win over West Indies last Friday as Joe Root hit a century and Chris Woakes made 40 after being elevated from No.7 to No.3. Bairstow said: ‘We’ve got confidence in our whole line-up. You could see that with Woakesy coming in at three, he wanted to open! ‘It wasn’t massive panic stations because we’re very fortunate to have people at nine, ten, 11 that can come in. Adil Rashid has ten first-class hundreds, so to have him coming in at No.10 is pretty handy.’
■ 12 — Wickets in the match for spinner Simon Harmer after his second-innings seven for 38 saw Essex beat second-placed Hampshire by an innings and eight runs inside two days in Division One
■ 5 — Wickets for 18 runs for James Anderson, as Lancashire dismissed Derbyshire for 153, while Graham Onions took three for 19. Lancs closed on eight for one
■ 5 — Kent wickets fell before lunch at Tunbridge Wells but the hosts recovered to 309 all out against Nottinghamshire thanks to Zak Crawley’s 111