Jonny Bairstow has surprisingly conceded that he isn’t the best wicketkeeper in his country ahead of the 2017-18 Ashes series.
Bairstow, who has emerged as one of first names on Trevor Bayliss' teamsheet over the last couple of years, has claimed that wicketkeeping in Test cricket doesn't necessarily hurt your batting - as was previously a theory - and admitted he wouldn't be at international level if wicketkeeping was the only factor in his selection.
Bairstow has expressed his empathy with his Australian counterparts, who have been fighting one another to be behind the stumps in the Ashes.
Matthew Wade, Peter Nevill and Alex Carey are all vying to keep at the first test in Brisbane this month and Bairstow believes there are plenty of factors that could determine who the hosts go for.
"I think it's very individual, because the balance between how much it takes out of you compared to how much you're still in the game, how much you're mentally prepared, how much it helps with your batting because if you fail with your batting then you've potentially got another way of influencing the game with your keeping," Bairstow said, as per the Canberra Times.
"I've been in the same boat myself.
"It's bloody tough. Going into your county games back home, or your shield games here, knowing that you're potentially in the running for a Test spot between two or three guys, guys that are wanting to stay in the team, guys that are wanting to break back into the team, guys that may not have been in the team before.
"That also is a healthy competition as well. If you look in England, the one-day side for instance. At one point you had [Craig] Kieswetter, [Jos] Buttler, Bairstow, all three of us played in the same game.
"It’s something that spurs you on but at the same time it can be quite tiring as well.
“It might be playing in your mind about how the selectors may perceive that you should be playing, and that might be different to the way that you want to be playing. So there's lots of different ways in which you can go about it, but I'm sure that it won't be the first time that these guys have been through it.
"They'll have fought off people in the past to get to their state sides, into their first-grade sides, into the international sides previously."
Despite his form with the bat, Bairstow thinks there are still better English players behind the stumps than himself.
Nevertheless, the way the modern game is played, the Yorkshire star did admit that his bigger batting contributions will mean the likes of Chris Read and James Foster will continue to be overlooked.
He added: "Your glove work is your No.1 thing that you're judged on. But if you're averaging 10 or 12, or 20 then all of a sudden because you're doing that, your glove work gets notched down, so you might go for someone who's a seven out 10, a six out of 10 because it just gives you a bit more balance.
"It does resonate with me, because if you're going on pure keeping, then [county veterans] Chris Read and James Foster would have been keeping for England for however long. They're still the two best glovemen in England. There's no qualms about it in my opinion.
"But now it's a case of if you're batting at No.7, you've still got to be scoring runs.
"In England especially they're wanting you to be batting at five and six and churning runs, as well as keeping. It's almost like an all-rounder's spot."
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