Rory Burns is hoping to stake his claim for England reselection with runs for Surrey ahead of facing world No 2 side New Zealand… after two ducks in four innings on India tour saw the opener dropped
- England opener Rory Burns scored 58 runs in the two Chennai Tests in February
- He was ruled out of the previous series against Sri Lanka due to paternity leave
- Surrey have seven county championship games before the New Zealand series
- Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley opened in the final two matches in his absence
Rory Burns plans to make an unanswerable case to England’s selectors following his dropping from the Test side in India.
The 58 runs he managed in the two Chennai Tests in February proved the sum total of his winter’s work after paternity leave ruled him out of the series in Sri Lanka.
And with Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley opening in the final two games in India, Burns has set his sights on a hatful of runs in seven county championship matches for Surrey before the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s on June 2 – starting next week against Gloucestershire at Bristol.
Rory Burns plans to make an unanswerable case to England’s selectors ahead of the New Zealand series
Burns was dropped after making just 58 runs in two Test matches in Chennai against India
‘The way those Tests were going, you could have left out any of the batters at various points,’ he said. ‘Conditions were loaded in India’s favour, which is their prerogative. But it wasn’t conducive for opening the batting, in terms of the way we see it in this country.
‘It was a tough tour. No one really found it easy. All I want to do as a player and person is keep on improving. I had an honest conversation with Joe Root and Chris Silverwood, and got feedback on certain areas.
‘I’ve got seven games, and a few things I want to work on personally, but there’s also a great opportunity for me to go out and score some runs for Surrey.’
Having picked him for 23 Tests dating back to November 2018, and with a view to taking an experienced side to Australia this winter, England regard Burns as a long-term prospect. And his chances of a recall were not harmed by the struggles in Asia of Sibley and Crawley, who managed just three half-centuries between them in 20 innings in Sri Lanka and India.
Dom Sibley (right) and Zak Crawley (left) opened for England in the final two games in India
Burns has seven games with Surrey before England’s first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s
Another potential factor is the final of the IPL on May 30. If Rajasthan Royals qualify, that could rule the likes of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler out of the first New Zealand Test, making Burns’s reselection even more straightforward.
‘I think there’s a bit of credit in the bank in terms of what I’ve done over a period of time,’ he said. ‘But quite frankly it’s more about what’s going on between my ears.’
One matter he regards as old news is his Twitter spat in February with former England women’s international Alex Hartley, who jokingly thanked the men’s Test team for getting their 10-wicket defeat by India at Ahmedabad out of the way in two days, so that attention could switch to the women’s side in New Zealand.
Both she and Burns, who tweeted that her comment was, ‘very disappointing’, were spoken to by the ECB, and Burns said on Thursday: ‘It’s all been dealt with and sewn up, so that’s it. Everyone knows the pros and cons of social media and I don’t want to elaborate any further.’
Burns regards his Twitter spat in February with former England women’s international Alex Hartley as old news
Meanwhile, Surrey and England team-mate Ollie Pope believes he won’t be troubled again by his left shoulder, after twice undergoing surgery for a dislocation.
‘I was diving around in India without really thinking about it, so it should hopefully not pop out of position again and hopefully there will be no more surgeries,’ he said.
Pope remains in the running for the New Zealand Test series, despite averaging just 19 in India.
He added: ‘The winter was pretty tough, as it was for a lot of us batters out there, but I learned a lot of good lessons – not just for playing in India but for playing on day-four and day-five wickets.’
Ollie Pope remains in the running for the New Zealand series, despite averaging just 19 in India