Yorkshire star Jonny Bairstow admits he was “hurt” by his omission from the England Test squad to face Sri Lanka.
Bairstow was the man in possession of the wicketkeeper gloves – he played in England’s last Test, the defeat to Australia in Sydney.
But the selectors have gone back to the man who started that Ashes series, Matt Prior, for the first Test of the 2014 summer at Lord’s next Thursday.
Sussex star Prior has been dogged by an Achilles injury this season, and has played just one four-day match as a keeper. But England’s selectors are confident his ankle will hold up for five days.
Bairstow told Sky Sports News: “It’s disappointing not to get selected but that’s the nature of professional sport. I’m here at Yorkshire and happy playing as many games as I can.
“I’ve just got to go out and score as many runs as I can. Of course it hurts - everyone wants to play for their country. It’s hurting deep down inside. But with the schedule as it is, I’ve just got to get on with it and play the next game.”
Bairstow confirmed that he was told he would be left out of the squad before it was made public.
“There was a conversation and there will be a couple more coming up. That will be just how we can go forward and hopefully how I can get back in the mix,” he said.
“It was just a case of playing as much cricket as I can. Obviously in Australia I only played the last couple of games.
“So it’s important for me to get out there, keeping wicket and scoring runs, doing what I’ve been doing for the last four years. That’s what’s really exciting for me, playing with guys I’ve grown up with at Yorkshire.”
As well as opting for Prior, the selectors have recalled Liam Plunkett, Bairstow’s Yorkshire team-mate, and given first call-ups to Worcestershire batsman Moeen Ali, Sussex fast bowler Chris Jordan and Middlesex opener Sam Robson.
But Bairstow does not believe England have gone with Prior because his experience helps counter-balance the youth of the new players.
“I’m not too sure about that – the guys that are coming in have obviously plied their trade at county level and scored a lot of runs,” he said. “Those, with Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson, it’s a mixture of youth and experience. It’s an exciting time for English cricket.
Bairstow says fast bowler Plunkett has been in superb form for Yorkshire and deserves his call-up.
“He’s bowling rockets – good, good pace and very hostile as well. He’s not being afraid to come around the wicket at batsman and it’s made people uncomfortable,” said Bairstow. “He’s bowling well and he’s in good form. We wish him all the best and hopefully he gets the nods to play Sri Lanka.”
Watch the whole of the England v Sri Lanka series live on Sky Sports 2.