(Reuters) - England batsman Jonny Bairstow said he would rather win the 50-overs World Cup than the Ashes series against Australia if he was given the chance to claim only one.
World Cup returns to England and Wales after 20 years and Bairstow said England deserved to win their maiden title after all the hard work they had put in over the past two years to become the number one ranked one-day team.
“I am going (to pick the) World Cup because it’s been so long since we’ve had an opportunity to win one,” Bairstow told Sky Sports.
“I think that the amount of work that has gone into this group of players over the last couple of years, building and building, I firmly believe we’ve put an amount of effort in that gives us the best chance.
“Guys have worked day in, day out, taking their games to places that they weren’t at 18 months, two years ago. That’s from the vision Morgs (England captain Eoin Morgan) has had and the way we are playing our one-day cricket.”
Bairstow also credited the Indian Premier League (IPL) for sharpening his skills and improving his form ahead of the World Cup.
The 29-year-old scored 445 runs in 10 matches at an average of over 55 for the Sunrisers Hyderabad franchise, forming a formidable opening partnership with Australia’s David Warner.
“You go to the IPL to develop your skills, to put them up against the best in the world,” Bairstow, who smashed one century and two half-centuries during the tournament, said.
“We saw Jos (Buttler) coming back into the test side last summer after a brilliant IPL. The competition over there can only improve your skills. I genuinely think I’m still learning and improving.”
England begin their World Cup campaign on May 30 when they take on South Africa at The Oval in London. The first of five Ashes tests begins on Aug. 1.
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty