JONNY BAIRSTOW has insisted the fire is still in his belly… but it’s not all down to his new friendship with Mary Berry.
Baristow, 32, has symbolised the revitalisation of England’s Test cricket team under skipper Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum.
He is second in the world in Test runs this calendar year with an impressive 774, beaten only by Australia’s Usman Khawaja.
It was a blistering, 77-ball century from Bairstow which fired England to victory against New Zealand at Trent Bridge.
Followed by a brilliant 130 not out from 126 balls to salvage the first innings – and eventually the win and series – at home ground Headingly.
The Yorkshireman was interviewed about his recent good form by former England captain Nasser Hussain on behalf of the Daily Mail.
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Bairstow said: “That fire is always in my belly.
“My appetite to play Test cricket for England will never cease and the passion, the will and the want are most definitely there.
“You know how much it means to me and I’m extremely proud of doing that.
“All I can say is that it’s nice to have the backing of everybody.”
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The exhilarating batter was asked about “Baz-ball”, the unofficial moniker of the new red-ball style being played with McCullum at the helm.
He added: “Yes, there have been some amazing times but I think the way we are going about our cricket is really exciting.
“I really do hope it’s grabbing people’s attention. That’s exactly what we want to be doing.
“We were inspired to play cricket as kids and we want to inspire the next generation to come and watch the game and play it.”
“It’s just looking to be busy and shifting the momentum back on to the bowler.
“I haven’t gone out looking to just slog or anything. I like to think it’s been calculated.”
England’s Test match against India on Friday is Bairstow’s 87th and he was probed on whether he has an eye on his century of caps for the national team.
“I don’t want to look too far ahead but it’s your ambition as a kid to play 100 Tests for England and if I got there it would mean a heck of a lot.
“That would be very special.”
And the side’s former wicket keeper had more than just fire in his tummy after meeting Berry.
He filmed a TV show with the former Great British Bake Off legend on Tuesday.
Bairstow revealed: “What an absolute legend of a person she is!
“We had such a nice afternoon and then she did us this tea with smoked salmon, wild rice and asparagus. It was lovely.