Jonny Bairstow is backing his Yorkshire team-mate Adil Rashid to successfully set aside the furore over his controversial England Test call-up.
Bairstow acknowledges the row which has escalated since Rashid was surprisingly named in the squad to face India will be “in the background” at Edgbaston next week but is hoping the leg-spinner can transfer his limited-overs form and “put on a show” in England’s 1,000th Test.
Rashid’s shock recall to a 13-man squad appeared to find little favour with his club, exasperated at his return despite his unavailability to them for any first-class cricket after signing a limited-overs only contract in February.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan, a notably outspoken pundit these days, also took a dim view – citing the turn of events as a “stab in the back for county cricket” – and Rashid responded in no uncertain terms to his one-time Yorkshire colleague.
In a BBC interview, he described Vaughan’s remarks as “stupid” and indicated his club future may lie away from “disrespectful” Yorkshire.
Bairstow is unsurprisingly upbeat about the prospect of 30-year-old Rashid playing his first home Test – despite his lack of first-class cricket for the past 10 months while he has instead focused his attentions solely on preparing for next year’s World Cup.
“It’s exciting isn’t it?” said Bairstow. “He is delighted, and I am really excited for him.
“With everyone getting behind him, (we hope he) can emulate some of the skills he showed in the one-day series [against India and Australia this summer] and put on a show.”
Bairstow does not discount the disenchantment in some quarters over Rashid’s return, despite assurances from national selector Ed Smith that the leg-spinner has given England a personal guarantee of his long-term availability throughout this summer and next winter in Sri Lanka and West Indies.
“That is for Yorkshire to deal with, and Adil,” said the England wicketkeeper.
“That is something I am sure will be in the background – but at the same time, he has now been picked in a Test squad to represent England.
“The biggest honour you can have is to go out and play Test cricket for England.
“I think deep, deep down Yorkshire will be chuffed to pieces that another one of their players is going out hoping to represent their country in one of the biggest series there is to play.”
Rashid capped his white-ball resurgence, and perhaps tipped the balance for Smith, when he bowled Virat Kohli with a memorable leg-break as England clinched the ODI series on his home ground at Headingley last week.
It was the second time in three matches he had dismissed the India captain, and Bairstow added: “He has bowled me with plenty of leg-breaks over the years.
“To have (Kohli) out, get him stumped then to bowl him, was really impressive.”
Bairstow believes if Rashid is picked for the first Specsavers Test England will see a much different bowler to the one who finished the last of his 10 previous matches in Chennai in December 2016 with a career average of 42.78.
“I think he has matured a lot. You can see that in the way that he is starting, the way he is bowling in the powerplays in one-day cricket,” he added.
“If he is landing his leg-spinner, if he is landing his googly, he just has to do it a few more times other than the 10 overs he has been bowling.”