England news April 10, 2014

Broken finger hurts Bairstow prospects

ESPNcricinfo staff

Jonny Bairstow's chance of retaining his place as England's Test wicketkeeper have taken a major blow with a broken finger ruling him out for up to six weeks.

Bairstow, who played the final two Ashes Tests in Australia, could potentially miss Yorkshire's opening four County Championship matches, limiting his opportunity to stake a claim for the gloves in England's first Test of the summer on June 12.

Playing in a three-day friendly against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road, Bairstow took a painful blow attempting to take a Liam Plunkett delivery down the leg side. After seeing a specialist in Leeds it was confirmed Bairstow has fractured the ring finger on his left hand.

Should Bairstow not return until early May, he could have only three County Championship matches in which to impress the England management, and a new head coach who is expected to be appointed in two weeks' time.

Bairstow, 24, failed to convince on his return to Test cricket with a highest score of 21 in four innings in Melbourne and Sydney. If those performances could be forgiven in an England dressing room at a particularly low ebb, his performances for England Lions in Sri Lanka were more disappointing.

A century in a warm-up match against Sri Lanka A Emerging Players was his only score above fifty in five matches on the tour with his best effort in the three-match unofficial Test series against Sri Lanka A just 27.

"It is a devastating blow for Jonny," Yorkshire first team coach Jason Gillespie told the club's official website. "He has been working incredibly hard to put in some strong performances for Yorkshire during the early part of the season to enhance his England credentials. It is a great shame for him and I know that he is really disappointed with the news.

"He will be working hard on his rehab and we remain hopeful that if the fracture can heal quickly he could be back sooner. It was an innocuous injury. In these circumstances Jonny would take that ball a hundred times without any problems. Things like this can happen in professional sport.

"It is how you deal with it that matters most and I know that with his [Bairstow] positivity, he will be chomping at the bit to get back to playing for Yorkshire as soon as possible."

Of further concern for Bairstow was the immediate return to form of Matt Prior, who struck a crisp century - his first for over a year - in his opening innings of the Championship season. But Prior benefitted from three dropped catches and an Achilles problem also prevented him from keeping wicket.

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  • Allan Draycott on April 12, 2014, 14:53 GMT

    Ensures Buttler a place as England 'keeper at least in the 1st Test. He will probably join Broad and Morgan (who will replace KP) as a must-play in all 3 formats. Let's hope he doesn't get injured.

  • Cam on April 12, 2014, 8:01 GMT

    Lol @rednwhitearmy, that side is supposed to be a joke right?

  • Dummy4 on April 11, 2014, 22:16 GMT

    I hope he recovers quickly and returns to Yorkshire to make a bucket load of runs. Keeping away from that England team and those coaches is a bonus.

  • Jeff on April 11, 2014, 13:52 GMT

    Cook Robson Trott Taylor Bell Root Rashid Prior Broad Anderson Onions. Bats deep, four frontline bowlers with Root and Trott as the part timers. Captain should be Bell, Prior or Root. The best performing pace bowler in the country (Onions) and the best spinner (Rashid) MUST play instead of keeping picking kids who 'will grow to become top players' but never do.

  • Dummy4 on April 11, 2014, 12:11 GMT

    Bairstow is the only one of the keeper being considered as purely a test batsman so his batting must be there or there abouts. He is inexperianced at keeping because England have made him carry drinks too much and not let him develop his keeping with Yorkshire. I've seen enough of his keeping to suggest he has the potential to be a test match quality keeper. Maybe pick prior this summer and let Bairstow keep all season for Yorkshire (and probably score a truck full of runs) Then when he is selected for the winter tests there will be no quarms about his game.

  • Clive on April 11, 2014, 11:43 GMT

    He's not a great 'keeper and he is not, and never will be, a Test-class batsman.

    The first poster on here said Bairstow's time will come in a couple of years. No it won't!

    He's had his time over the past couple of years but looked way out of his depth and could only muster up a Test average of 26, to go with his ODI average of 23 and his T20I average of 19.

    I know Jonny is well-liked by people in the game and by a lot of people in the media, who spent ages hyping him up as a future great but people have got to look at his situation dispassionately and realise that he's just not good enough to play for England.

  • Mark on April 11, 2014, 10:48 GMT

    I ma sure if he has a fundamental flaw in his batting then the England batting coaches will be helping him iron this out. Part of his problem is not knowing what his role is in the team, batsman, keeper, both? And this applies in all 3 formats although interestingly he has been left out of recent ODI and T20 squads where his game may currently be better suited. He plays with hard rather than soft hands and often goes looking for the ball rather than letting it come on to him - the same could be said about his keeping probably but its less obvious. He kept for the Lions in Sri Lanka after the Ashes and did well by all accounts behind the stumps although he did not get too many runs.

  • andrew on April 11, 2014, 9:23 GMT

    Bairstow has a significant flaw in his batting technique - playing across straight, full length deliveries. It'll continue to find him out at the highest level if he doesn't manage to work out a solution. I'm not saying he isn't the best keeping option for England - I'm really not sure - but he won't make consistent runs at Test level until this vulnerability is addressed.

  • Prasanna on April 11, 2014, 7:57 GMT

    Just out of curiosity , what plan you geniuses have for KP, given that he is still hopeful of playing cricket for England ? Get him ?? or ignore him ? And what are the odds of Eng doing well against SL and india in a couple of months ?

  • Mark on April 11, 2014, 7:49 GMT

    I dont think some of the comments below are accurate or fair if you look back at the circumstances when Bairstow has been asked to play for England. In his short test career he must have been "dropped" three or four times already to make way for others like Pietersen (returning from suspension), Bell (returning from paternity leave) and at the Oval last summer to give Woakes a game when a better option would have been to rest Prior with the Ashes won and give Bairstow the gloves to see if he was a competent reserve keeper for the winter Ashes - poor selection and management once again. When he is asked to play, its at short notice, with little match practice behind him and usually due to another players unavailability or loss of form. Prior had to be dropped after the first 3 tests last winter and with dead rubbers it was a chance for Bairstow to get some experience. His batting is strong enough on its own to merit selection if he is given a fair run in the team and not messed about

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