It has been tough few days for Jonny Bairstow, who is failing on a regular basis to perform with the bag in Test format of the game. Despite the poor form, he has been brilliant behind the stumps. But, the board isn’t happy with the one dimensional Jonny Bairstow.
Since reverting to being Test wicketkeeper in February, Bairstow is averaging only 18 from seven Test matches. He averages only 24 since the start of the 2018 summer. In the same period, Buttler averages 36 in Tests. England retains a strong belief that Bairstow, who has six Test centuries, can thrive as a specialist batsman in Test cricket, but do not feel like they are currently getting the best out of him.
Ben Foakes might take the role:
And they are considering asking Bairstow to concentrate solely on his batting and either giving the gloves back to Foakes despite his modest season with Surrey or asking white-ball keeper Jos Butter to assume Test duties now his batting is back on track.
Bairstow is still likely to tour New Zealand as a specialist batsman. Surrey’s Ollie Pope, who played two Tests last year and has been in fine form since returning from injury this summer, is certain to be picked and has a good chance of batting in the middle order in the first Test.
One player sure to be selected is Warwickshire opener Dominic Sibley who earns his chance through sheer weight of runs despite concerns over his technique. Sibley looks certain to travel at the expense of Jason Roy, with Ollie Pope also given his chance.
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Somerset’s exciting Tom Banton, whose style has been compared to Kevin Pietersen, will win his first international call-up for the T20 games. Kent’s Sam Billings, who made 87 in his last international innings but missed most of the summer – including the World Cup – with injury is also set to be recalled for this series.