England head coach Trevor Bayliss has said that wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow could play as a specialist batsman in the fourth Test against India beginning August 30 in Southampton, should assessments on his finger conclude that he is unable to keep wicket. Also Read - On This Day: Rahul Dravid Retires From ODIs, Played His Last Match Against England at Cardiff
Bairstow had fractured his left middle finger after being struck by the ball while keeping on Day Three in the Nottingham Test which England lost by 203 runs. Also Read - BCCI President Sourav Ganguly Gives Green Signal to India Hosting England in February 2021, Speaks About Resumption of Domestic Cricket
“I think keeping in the next game will probably be the most difficult (for Bairstow),” Bayliss said of Bairstow, who did come out to bat in the final innings but was bowled for a first-ball duck by Jasprit Bumrah. Also Read - Sri Lanka Willing to Host India-England Test Series in 2021: Report
“We’ve got to check with the medical guys in the next few days. They are suggesting he may not be able to keep but might be able to bat. We’ll have to see how it responds,” he added.
England have called up Hampshire batsman James Vince as cover for Bairstow and wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler could once again take over behind the stumps if the latter cannot recover in time.
The England coach, however, said that Bairstow might be reluctant to pass on keeping responsibilities.
“That’ll be the hard thing, trying to convince Jonny. That will be a decision that is taken from the team point of view. He is a world-class batter, we know that, one of the difficult things might be convincing Jonny of that. I think he has improved his keeping over the last couple of years from where he was say when we were in South Africa. He’s aware of that. He’s done some hard work,” said Bayliss.
England, with wins at Edgbaston and Lords, still lead the five-match Test series 2-1.