England opener Rory Burns says he’s not gone the “full Steve Smith” quite yet but has revealed how, just like the Australian superstar, he’s been enjoying shadow batting in his hotel room in preparation for the forthcoming India series.
Smith, in full whites, was filmed by his wife practising the odd glorious cover drive on the eve of Australia’s third Test against India recently and Burns, back from paternity leave for England, has been copying the strategy while not being able to go to the nets.
Apart from the bit about wearing full kit, though.
“I’m hungry to get going. I’m shadow batting in a mirror behind me, I’ve not gone full Steve Smith and put my whites on yet,” reported Burns from his Chennai hotel room.
“But having the bat in hand and training and those sort of things … it’s coming down alright, so hopefully that translates!”
Burns was absent for the 2-0 win in Sri Lanka following the birth of his first child Cora this month but, paternity leave over, he’s now linked up with his England teammates in Chennai, where the first two Tests in the four-match series are being held.
Everyone in the touring camp is currently in quarantine so Burns is passing the time by diving into a psychology course he has recently begun, as well as watching himself in the mirror go through his batting motions.
“The break and refreshment and new perspective that fatherhood brings has just been a nice bit of time to have at home and spend with the wife,” said the Surrey captain.
“It was obviously tough leaving my newborn daughter and wife back at home but it’s part and parcel of the job and I appreciate that. I’m just looking forward to getting going and getting back into work.”
Burns, plus Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer – who were rested for the Sri Lanka trip – are scheduled to be released from quarantine two days before the rest of their teammates following their earlier arrival into India.
That still leaves them with minimal preparation time ahead of the first Test on February 5 but Burns, who has not played a first-class game since early September, is unfazed at the prospect.
“It’s obviously a challenge and there’s not much we can do about that schedule, it’s just what’s placed in front of you,” said Burns. “If you waste time thinking about that, it’s probably not going to be any good to you.
“Me, Jof and Stokesy get a slight head start because of quarantine, but I’m looking forward to having a couple of tasty net sessions with those two coming in at me!
“I caught quite a lot of that India-Australia series and they’re in pretty handy form.
“That was not necessarily their first XI… and they still managed to get over the line in Australia which is testament to their side. It’s going to be a big challenge.”