JONNY BAIRSTOW has signed a three-year contract extension with Yorkshire.

The 29-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman held talks towards the end of last season but a busy international calendar, as well as a desire to seek further assurances on the club’s future direction, meant his current deal was in danger of expiring.

However, the former York schoolboy has now put pen to paper for his 18-year affiliation with the club to continue until the end of 2021.

“It’s another high profile, high-class, world-class international cricketer pledging three further years to the club and it is fantastic news," said director of cricket Martyn Moxon.

"He’s a great role model that we can use for our younger players. His ability on the field is unquestionable and, when he comes back to play for us, he’s a match-winner for us.

"It’s fantastic to have Jonny connected with the club and, although we might not see too much of him in playing terms, for him to be associated to and connected with the club is great."

Regarded as one of the best wicketkeeper-batsmen in world cricket, Bairstow told "I’m very pleased to have signed my extension. It has taken a little while to get it sorted with a few bits going on, but I’m really pleased to have signed the extension.

"Hopefully we can build on last year because there are still things we need to do in order to get back to the top of the County Championship. We did quite well in one-day cricket but at the end of the day we want to be winning competitions."

Having made his debut in 2009, Bairstow has scored more than 11,000 first-class runs, over 6,000 of those in 92 matches for the White Rose at an average of 51.15.

He has secured his first Indian Premier League contract after being purchased by the Sunrisers Hyderabad, which means he is unlikely to feature for Yorkshire from late March until late May as he fine tunes his white-ball game ahead of the World Cup.

"There’s no doubt he’s a star but he’s got the chance to be a superstar, particularly if he goes well in the IPL in 2019," said Moxon.

"He’s that talented in my opinion, his capabilities make him top of the game in all three formats. There’s no end to the potential that Jonny can go on and achieve in his career.”

Bairstow added: "The fans in Yorkshire never go anywhere and they are the people you want to keep impressing and play for.

"They are the people putting their hands in their back pockets and using their own money to come and watch us play. That’s why we play the game, to entertain the people that want to come and watch us.

"Hopefully the crowds can keep growing and we’ve got the hundred-ball competition coming in as well so it’s an exciting transition for English cricket.

"At the moment I only play a few games a year (for Yorkshire) and I’m sure there are plenty of people saying that I should be playing more.

"But with the international schedule the way it is – look at this summer and the Ashes, a World Cup and we go again straight after that. It’s a hectic schedule. It’s not just physically exhausting it’s mentally demanding as well with all the pressures that come with it.

"I always enjoy coming back, but it’s going to be really different this year, losing a few of the guys and potentially playing against some of the people you’ve had some fantastic memories playing with at Yorkshire. But it’s an opportunity to create some new ones with the new faces we’ve got in at the club."

Bairstow enquired as to the club’s future direction with the departure or retirement of several key and senior players.

“He showed an interest in the direction the club were looking to take in the coming years,” said Moxon.

“There have been a few personnel changes in recent years but he just wanted to be sure that our plans for the future matched his and his desire to be involved in a winning team.

"We’re in a bit of a transitional period, but we’ve got some exciting and talented young players that we need to give opportunities to in order to ensure that Yorkshire are competitive for the future.

“The positive we have with someone like Jonny is that when he comes back to us he’s a great role model and he gives our younger players someone to aspire to.”