Rory Burns braced for 'trial by spin' after earning England Test call-up

Burns' consistency across seasons merited Test elevation - Ed Smith (2:09)

England's chief selector Ed Smith explains the factors that led to Rory Burns and Joe Denly finding a spot in the Test squad for the Sri Lanka tour (2:09)

Rory Burns believes he has enough "clarity in his method" to translate his prolific form for Surrey in the County Championship into a potential Test debut on the spinning wickets of Sri Lanka, after being named in his first England Test squad at the age of 28.

Burns, who is back in action for Surrey at The Oval, has led the county to their first Championship title since 2002 with a formidable haul of 1319 runs at 69.42 in 13 matches, which is almost 400 runs more than his nearest challenger, Somerset's James Hildreth.

It has been the fifth season in succession that Burns has passed 1000 runs in Championship cricket, and speaking on Friday after confirming his call-up, England's national selector Ed Smith said that he had impressed everyone with his consistency.

"For me personally, it's been a lot of hard work," Burns told Sky Sports ahead of Surrey's match against Essex. "I've tried to let my bat do the talking and churn out runs, and it's satisfying to get the nod in the end and get the opportunity.

"I've obviously got five seasons of backing in my own head. I've got some self-belief, so you've got to trust your method and trust the processes that you go through."

Burns heard the news while down at Taunton on Friday, where Surrey's quest for a tenth consecutive Championship victory was curtailed by high winds. And that adverse weather may have been a factor in his slightly disjointed phonecall.

"Ed Smith rung me last week after the Somerset game, but it actually cut out halfway through," Burns said. "He started to tell me I'd got the nod, but it cut out so I had to run outside quickly and find some phone signal, and give him a call back."

The message got through in the end, however, and if selected for the first Test in Galle on November 6, Burns will be stepping into the shoes of none other than Alastair Cook, England's all-time leading run-scorer who retired at The Oval earlier this month following a record run of 159 consecutive appearances.

"I don't think it's [extra pressure], I think it's exciting," Burns said. "You probably can't say enough about Alastair's career - well I can't, because I don't think I'm as good as him at the minute. But it'll be an exciting time and I hope I get an opportunity to do it."

Despite his success on home soil, Burns is under no illusions about what will await him in Sri Lanka, especially after speaking to his Surrey team-mate Dean Elgar, who toured the country with Sri Lanka back in July and August.

"I'm a decent player of spin, I've got a few options that I try to work my way through, but [Elgar's] just got back from Sri Lanka, and said he didn't face a ball of seam," said Burns. "So it'll be trial by spin and it'll be interesting to see how I'll go.

"I think it's about clarity in your method," he added. "You need to understand what you do well, what your options are at certain times. It's no different from going from seam to spin, there are different methods to both and you've got to cycle through them."

Burns' batting technique, much like the man he is replacing, is best described as functional rather than beautiful. His backside sticks out to square leg, and he has a habit of looking towards mid-on before each delivery. But there's no arguing with his body of work in recent seasons.

"My method is slightly unorthodox," Burns admitted. "There's some nuances to it, let's put it that way. I got told I was left-eye dominant, so [looking to mid-on] is about me trying to get my left eye on the ball as much as I can. Then it almost became a rhythm thing in terms of little routines at the crease. That's how that came about."

Burns' England call-up caps a remarkable year for a player who has only just taken up the reins at Surrey, the County Champions-elect.

"You set out at the start of the season to try to win some trophies, we managed to get the biggest one, and then to get the call-up has been pretty special," he said. "I am fortunate to come off the back of Gareth Batty and the way he stabilised the club in his tenure, so to win it is a special feeling.

"We've done it with a group of young Surrey lads, a lot of guys in the system that we've played with a lot of the way up, through age groups and the academy.

"From a playing side of things, we are backing youth, backing guys coming through the system and complementing that with some very good experienced cricketers around them, and off the pitch we seem to be getting people through the gate and making some money.

"When we won [the title] at Worcester, most of the boys started celebrating but I was already thinking about next year and trying to do better. Hopefully this will be the first year of many years of success, but a lot of hard work has gone into winning it this year. We've got to recognise that, and try to reproduce it next year."