England Lions’ tour to South Africa in the new year is one that excites Jonny Bairstow.
The 25-year-old, an LV= County Championship winner with Yorkshire in 2014, has been working hard on his game this winter.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Bairstow spent three weeks in Sri Lanka with the England Performance Programme, honing his technique against spin, before joining the fast bowlers in Potchefstroom.
His first taste of cricket in South Africa, which included a two-day game versus North West Dragons, has whetted the appetite for his return as part of a strong Lions outfit after Christmas.
“South Africa is an amazing place to come and play cricket,” Bairstow, who has played 14 Tests, seven one-day internationals and 18 Twenty20s for the senior England side, told ecb.co.uk.
“We’ve got a strong squad and it’s exciting to come to a country you haven’t toured in the past and play against guys you potentially haven’t played against before in their back yard, which is obviously going to be difficult.”
Adapting to conditions early will be key for the Lions batsmen, according to Bairstow.
He added: “It’s all about adapting. You might come back to England after a winter away and you come straight back onto a seaming pitch.
“It’s all about being able to adapt to the different conditions that you’re going to face.
“Naturally it takes a little bit of time but the quicker you can adapt the more likely you are to score runs.”
Craig Overton was part of the fast bowlers camp in South Africa, working on his action alongside the likes of England internationals Stuart Broad, James Anderson and Liam Plunkett.
The 20-year-old believes the Lions trip will be the perfect way to put all his hard work into practice.
The Somerset bowling all-rounder told ecb.co.uk: “It’s good to see where you have improved and see where you can go from there really.
“It’s still a learning process for me, but it is always a massive confidence boost to be selected for a Lions programme.”
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