Dawid Malan has revealed how he used Jonny Bairstow as a sounding board over his decision to move to Yorkshire last winter.
The England team-mates will line up wearing the White Rose tomorrow when the county resumes their so far successful Bob Willis Trophy North Group campaign against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
Malan enjoyed an excellent debut in the opening round win over Durham – completed on Tuesday afternoon – by scoring 30 and 73 in the match.
Bairstow, a good mate of Malan’s, is available for the next two four-day games against Notts and Derbyshire, the latter at Emerald Headingley from next Saturday.
He will then return to England one-day duty ahead of their series against Pakistan.
“I kept Jonny in the loop a bit and asked him a few questions,” said left-handed Malan.
“I also spoke to Liam Plunkett quite a bit before I made the decision.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with Jonny when I’ve been in and around the England group.
“I was batting with him when I scored my Test hundred (against Australia at Perth in December 2017).
“I get on really well with him and am looking forward to having him back and hearing him moaning about a few things.”
Malan is expecting big things from Bairstow over the next fortnight as his route to winning an England Test recall begins.
Bairstow has only played one Test Match since last summer’s drawn Ashes series, with only two fifties coming in his last 10 appearances. But his quality is undeniable.
And he is returning to a Nottingham venue where he scored the first of his 24 first-class career hundreds – a stunning 205 in a 2011 County Championship draw at Trent Bridge.
Malan says a repeat would do just fine: “It’s always nice to have Bluey in the side,” he continued.
“He will be really hungry having been left out of the Test stuff, so he’s got a point to prove. Hopefully he can come in, score a big double hundred and we can win the game in three days!
“His record in all formats proves he’s one of the best in the world.
“I think it’s been a tough 12 months for him in Test cricket. He probably hasn’t played as well as he would have liked and scored the runs he would have liked.
“So, hopefully it spurs him on to score some more runs and say, ‘You should have picked me’.”
Malan was delighted with his own debut performance at Durham, scoring a combined 103 runs in a low-scoring game dominated by seam bowling.
“To come in and repay the faith Andrew Gale and Martyn Moxon have put in me, and to help the team get over the line in the first game, is very satisfying,” he said.
“When you come to a new club, there’s obviously a lot expected from you, and you have to earn the trust and respect of the players to be able to fit into the changing room.
“Hopefully I’ve done that. Earning the respect of the guys is key before you can really start giving opinions or views in front of the players, so hopefully I can keep scoring runs.”
Bairstow will not be the only change to Yorkshire’s team at Trent Bridge, with new ball duo Ben Coad and Matthew Fisher both ruled out through side and abdominal strains respectively.
Seam trio Dom Leech, Mat Pillans and Jared Warner all come into a 13-man squad, while Duanne Olivier is available for selection having travelled to Durham for training purposes only.
David Willey, meanwhile, will build up his overs with the red ball over the next week having returned from England one-day duty in the hope he is ready to face Derbyshire.
Yorkshire squad: Patterson c, Bairstow w, Brook, Kohler-Cadmore, Leech, Lyth, Malan, Olivier, Pillans, Shutt, Tattersall, Thompson, Warner.