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International Cricket

Bairstow fit to play & “desperate” to keep wicket

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Jonny Bairstow has been passed as fit to play for England in the fourth Test against India but a decision has yet to be made on whether he will keep wicket.

Bairstow could well feature as a specialist batsman after injuring his finger during the third Test, but has made it clear he wants to retain the gloves long-term.

“The finger feels good, the swelling has gone down, and it is a lot better than I thought it was going to be,” Bairstow said during a press conference at the Ageas Bowl.

“I am going to try and keep wicket in training.

“You obviously want to play so, if I am not able to keep wicket, then I’d like to think I would play as a specialist batsman.

“But at the same time, I am desperate to try and keep my place as the keeper.”

With Jos Buttler, who made a maiden Test hundred at Trent Bridge, now back and established in the team, Trevor Bayliss had suggested Bairstow could play as a batsman only in the longer term for the good of the team.

But the Yorkshireman questioned the idea that ditching the gloves would help his batting performances.

“I think that is quite a bold statement,” he said.

“If you look, my stats are better when I am keeping wicket as well, so you are entering uncharted territories when you make bold statements like that.

“I am very keen to keep my spot as keeper, because I like to think it has gone well over the last 38, 39 Test matches.”

Bairstow’s fitness for the fourth Test could put an end to James Vince’s hopes of a return to the side following his recall as batting cover for the match – unless England were to shuffle the balance of their team or drop two-Test 20-year-old Ollie Pope.

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