We talk to Jonny Bairstow ahead of the Friends Life t20 Finals Day this weekend…
Jonny Bairstow played four FLt20 group games and the quarter-final as Yorkshire Carnegie booked their place in this weekend’s Finals Day.
He would undoubtedly have played the lot had England not come calling and he can’t wait to take to the field on Saturday as Yorkshire go for silverware.
Bairstow’s inclusion in the England squad saw him travel between internationals and t20 matches whenever released to his club, but he always found the Yorkshire dressing room a positive environment to return to:
“The guys had been playing some great cricket. They came out on top after some tough periods within some of the matches so when I came back into the side there was massive confidence within the team and obviously in that quarter-final we came up with the goods with David Milller, Gary Balance and Joe Root and the rest of them performing very well.”
One of the key elements of the Tykes success this summer has been the never say die approach. There is a huge belief in the squad:
“There is. No matter who is batting or who is bowling everyone is backing each other up. With Siddy and Brez to come back in to that side will only strengthen it.
“Who knows, it’s anybody’s game on the day. It’s the sort of game that can change in an over if someone takes two wickets in an over, someone takes a blinding catch or an over goes for 20 you’re always in the game.”
As Bairstow’s star continues to rise his experience of playing in big games is growing. His England debut was at the SWALEC Stadium when he rose to national attention by clubbing 41 runs from only 21 balls to secure an England win over India and pocket the man of the match award.
So how big is turning out for Yorkshire on Finals Day at the same ground?
“It’s huge. Obviously we’ve never been to Finals Day. There was a lot of hype about it at the start of the year and then when we started doing well everyone started saying can they make it to Finals Day or are they going to bottle it again or are they going to do this or that. I think we’ve proved to a lot of people that we can be reckoned with in that competition.
“Going into Finals Day we’ve won the eight completed games so we take that into the weekend, win two more and who knows?”
Sussex are Yorkshire’s semi-final opponents and start Saturday as the bookies favourites to lift the trophy, but Yorkshire know it’s all about who turns up and plays the best cricket on the day.
“It’s massively about on the day. They are obviously a very good side and have match winners, but as we’ve seen during our t20 campaign we’ve got match winners all the way down as well.
“I’m sure it will be a highly contested game, played in an atmosphere in front of a full house at Cardiff and hopefully we’ll come out victorious. “It will be a bit of a trek for people coming from Yorkshire, but hopefully people will make the journey and if not the people that have emigrated to Wales will come and support us!”
The carrot of the Champions League in South Africa in October is also there for the two successful semi-finalists:
“That would be massive for the Club. “Obviously there’s quite a lot of financial gain behind it, but we’ve always got to concentrate on the next game and go from there.
“It’s clichés galore I guess, but we go into it with a lot of confidence, had a good run-in with CB40 matches and hopefully we can take that positivity into Finals Day.”
Yorkshire have some experienced big game performers. How important is that?
“It’s huge. The experience that the guys have got at a high level is brilliant, all the way from Siddy and Brez who won the Twenty20 World Cup, Rash has played in a Twenty20 World Cup too, Rafa has been away playing in Under-19s World Cups and it all adds to everyone’s experiences and that will all be taken into Finals Day. I’m sure it will definitely bring the best out of everyone.
“Twenty20 can change people’s lives without a day. It’s a big stage to be on and we all want to play and do well.”
Jonny Bairstow was talking to James Buttler. We wish him every success this weekend.