Jonny Bairstow, the England wicket-keeper batsman, is confident of his team's chances in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019.
Bairstow, who plays for the Sunrisers Hyderabad, is all set to fly home on 23 April and will miss the remainder of the ongoing Indian Premier League season. All England players are expected to leave by the end of the month to take part in a busy period of World Cup preparations.
"We get back after the Chennai game on April 23. Then we’ve got the World Cup camp. We then play Pakistan in the five-ODI series and then we’ve got two warm-up matches in which we play Afghanistan and Australia. And then we go into the World Cup," Bairstow said. "It’s a lot of cricket leading into the World Cup. And then we’ve got five Ashes Tests after that."
England also play a solitary one-day international against Ireland on 3 May, and a one-off Twenty20 international against Pakistan as well as that five-match ODI series against Pakistan. Between the World Cup and the Ashes, they also host Ireland for a Test at Lord's.
Bairstow, who was named in England's 15-member World Cup squad on 17 April, also admitted that it is difficult to say which team will win the trophy. "Lots of teams who could win it and there would be upsets along the way. West Indies could win a game from nowhere. Then there is Afghanistan, who would probably bowl 30-40 overs of spin.
"In England, you know you do not have pitches like India, which is really dry. Sometimes the pitches could turn in England," said the 29-year-old.
Lots of teams who could win it [World Cup] and there would be upsets along the way
The right-hander has, so far, accumulated 365 runs in eight matches in the IPL, which includes a spectacular 52-ball hundred he scored against Royal Challengers Bangalore earlier this month. He is one of the top run-scorers in the tournament and expressed the desire to perform well in his remaining games to give Sunrisers a chance to reach the play-offs.
"So far it has gone well. To be in the top five leading run scorers... it is really very pleasing. Hopefully I can finish on a high in the next two games as well and we could be in the position to make the play-offs by the time I leave."
When asked whether too much IPL will burn out players before the World Cup, Bairstow disagreed. "Cricket is cricket and I think in IPL you play 14 games in six weeks and that is not too many. It is part and parcel of playing cricket. You play Test cricket and that is five full days... the guys bowl 20 overs in a day.
"However, there is lot more travelling. You travel at strange times as the evening games finish around mid-night. But it is good."
England begin their World Cup campaign on 30 May against South Africa at The Oval.
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