Axed Test opener Joe Burns is not ready to give up on his international career, maintaining a “really deep belief” in his ability to perform at the highest level.
Burns, who returned to the Big Bash last week after being dropped ahead of the Sydney Test, bounced back to form at the Gabba on Monday night to score a confidence-boosting 52 (38 balls) and help guide the Brisbane Heat to a crucial win against the Sydney Thunder.
Batting at No 4, Burns forged a matchwinning 90-run partnership with Englishman Joe Denly (50 off 36) after staggering to just one in his first BBL appearance of the season last Saturday night.
The 31-year-old Queenslander received a rousing reception from a crowd of more than 16,000 after posting his half-century, and while he was not getting carried away with his performance, he was adamant he could return to his best.
“I think professional sportspeople – whether you’re naive – you like to think that you’re going to perform in every game you play,” Burns said.
“You have to have that belief in what you do, you can’t doubt yourself.”
Despite making an unbeaten half-century in the first Test win against India in Adelaide last month, Burns was under enormous pressure to hold his spot and was axed after a horror showing in Melbourne.
“I understand that you just need to be making runs and I’m disappointed in my own performance because I wasn’t making many runs,” he said.
“I guess that’s what it comes down to. But to get to this level, you still maintain a really deep belief in your skills and your game, your preparation, the work that you’ve done – not only in the preceding weeks but over a long period of time.
“And you just have to keep pushing through and trust that the runs will come.
“The wheel always turns in this game.”
Burns was relieved to find the middle of the bat and help the Heat to a win that keeps them in finals calculations.
“You like to think that (touch) never leaves you,” he said.
“I’m also very realistic that batting in the middle order of a T20 game is very different to opening against the red ball.
“But it is nice to feel the ball hit the middle of the bat.
“Every player goes through this. There’s ups and downs in their careers in this sport, it’s challenging but you just keep working hard, keep hitting the ball.”
While he was not able to totally block out the furious debate surrounding his Test performance this summer, Burns has maintained a healthy perspective.
“I’ve just tried to stay really appreciative of every day,” he said.
“I feel like there’s been a lot made of the situation this summer but you (still) get the chance to open the batting for Australia on Boxing Day, you get the chance to come back and play for Brisbane Heat in front of great fans – whether you make runs or not, it’s a bonus really, you’re still enjoying it every day.
“It’s not all doom and gloom, it’s just the life we live.”
Burns’ return, along with the addition of Denly and return of injured captain Chris Lynn (hamstring), has bolstered the Heat’s batting depth considerably and enhanced their finals chances given their continued strong bowling efforts this season.
Brisbane (three wins and four losses) sit in sixth place on the ladder and will look to continue their charge in their final home games this week against the Melbourne Stars and Sydney Sixers on the Gold Coast.