Jonny Bairstow believes a lack of competitive match action won’t affect intensity when England meet the West Indies next month.
The Yorkshire star has been back in training at Emerald Headingley for the last couple of weeks in preparation for the belated beginning of the home summer schedule.
The first of three Tests will be played at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl on July 8, before which an extended squad – to be announced imminently – will head into a two-week training camp at the same venue.
A warm-up match will form part of the camp, but England’s players will not have had any game time against external opposition since mid-March in Sri Lanka.
The West Indies are in exactly the same boat. They are currently in camp at Emirates Old Trafford having not had any game time since early March when they also toured Sri Lanka.
Bairstow said: “We’ve got a camp where we will be playing against each other down at Southampton for two weeks, so I’d like to hope the intensity the guys will be bringing to that camp will be as high an intensity as Test cricket is going to be.
“We’ve got some guys who bowl at some serious pace and guys who want to be proving themselves.
“I don’t think the intensity side of things is going to be a problem.”
Bairstow didn’t tour Sri Lanka in March, so his last match action came on February 16 during the final T20 against South Africa at Centurion. He scored 64.
It is no wonder the wicketkeeper-batsman has loved getting back to work at Emerald Headingley under the gaze of Yorkshire head coach Andrew Gale and with help from assistant coach Rich Pyrah and England’s fielding coach Carl Hopkinson, the former Sussex batsman.
“It’s been good fun and really enjoyable,” he said. “There’s not been any bowlers as yet.
“At Headingley, we’ve got David Willey and Adil Rashid, who are preparing more with the white ball.
“Tomorrow (WEDNESDAY), I’m going up to Durham, where you’ve got Mark Wood, Stokesy and Brydon Carse. That will be good to face those guys.
“From a red ball point of view, I’ve been facing the dog stick.
“With the weather in Leeds, we’ve done a few sessions inside with the bowling machine, which has been good to groove your technique in many ways. Then, at 9.30am it’s been nipping around outside with brand new balls that haven’t been used all summer.