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Broken finger hurts Bairstow prospects

ESPNcricinfo staff

April 10, 2014

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Jonny Bairstow takes a ball as wicketkeeper, Cricket Australia Invitational XI v England, Sydney, 1st day, November 13, 2013
Jonny Bairstow's hopes of a Test place in June have taken a blow © Getty Images
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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.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by allandray 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.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (April 12, 2014, 8:01 GMT)

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

Posted by   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.

Posted by yorkshire-86 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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by FergusSiraLexon 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.

Posted by TripleCenturian 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.

Posted by zoot364 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.

Posted by PrasPunter 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 ?

Posted by TripleCenturian 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

Posted by   on (April 11, 2014, 1:22 GMT)

Agreed that Prior is the man, at least for this summer. The signs are already good with his batting, and I think the break was probably the best thing for him. I fully expect to see him with the gloves for the next year at least, maybe two. Davies is the best stand in, but Bairstow was a poor choice in the first place. His already patchy batting was made worse by giving him the gloves. I think his best option is to try to play as a specialist batsman, while I think long term Buttler is the best option. He's not ready now, but in 2 - 3 years hopefully he'll be ready to take over from Prior.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (April 11, 2014, 0:46 GMT)

Great news that Matty Prior has hit a ton. 1 Cook 2 Ballance 3 Trott 4 Bell 5 Moeen Ali 6 Stokes 7 Prior 8 Borthwick 9 Broad 10 Anderson 11 Onions. That side bats well down to 8, has 4 pace bowlers & 2 spinners.

Posted by   on (April 10, 2014, 20:17 GMT)

Why not Mustard? Solid keeper, decent with the bat. He might be 30 but he's a fixture at Durham (who have done well on domestic level).

Posted by brahms on (April 10, 2014, 16:33 GMT)

Of all the county wicket-keepers Bairstow has the highest batting average in long-format games, nearly 47, and that is just a fraction less than James Taylor. Prior comes next with about 41 and that is just ahead of Kieswetter. Buttler is a long, long way behind and the only reason he has played for England in short format games is that he is a fast scorer. His batting average in those games looks good but is inflated by a high number of not outs; take those away and his average is a bit less than Kieswetter's whom he displaced in the side. Bairstow is a quality batsman, but he has been messed about by the England management. Many of his test appearances have been when someone has dropped out and in such situations he plays with little match practice.

Posted by   on (April 10, 2014, 16:24 GMT)

England need to stop filling important test roles with "players for the future" It NEVER works. The best is they flame, fizzle, disappear, and come back better 4 years later. The worst - and most common thing to happen is that their career is over. Bairstow is not international class yet. There are other players that are. Prior being one. You don't pick your second or third best player in a key position with fingers crossed while leaving someone substantially better out of the side. It makes no sense. Prior and Davies are the top two picks for me.. Same with spinner. Don't pick some guy (Kerrigan) who can't actually get the ball to bounce on the cut part of the pitch 4 times an over hoping that some magic will turn him into another Graham Swann circa 2008. That is not going to happen. Pick the best spinner NOW. That's either Tredwell or Borthwick. Kerrigan may well be the best in a year or two - but not now.

Posted by jb633 on (April 10, 2014, 16:00 GMT)

@brussellion, agreed, he doesn't lack the things that can be learnt (temperament, match awarness etc) but he lacks ability both with bat and gloves. The fact he has kept in an Ashes series does such a great disservice to all ex keepers (on both sides) who have had to fight tooth and nail to get the gloves in an Ashes game. I wish him well but we can't forget how woefully out of depth he has looked in all but one international cricket game.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (April 10, 2014, 13:59 GMT)

Whatever his shortcomings, Bairstow has a great deal of natural talent and it's in England's best interests for him to get as much chance as possible to iron out the issues with his technique with both bat and gloves and hopefully become good enough to be a Test keeper/batsman. Even if Matt Prior does recapture his form, he's not going to be around forever.

Posted by CodandChips on (April 10, 2014, 13:45 GMT)

Hopefully this means England will leave him alone so he can develop both his batting and keeping in county cricket for the next couple of years

Posted by Morgasm on (April 10, 2014, 13:23 GMT)

If Prior can regain/continue in good form, the Test place has to be his. If not, Davies should be next in line. Bairstow is a long way short of what is required at Test level.

Posted by brusselslion on (April 10, 2014, 12:56 GMT)

Wish him well in recovering from the injury, but Bairstow should not be near the England team anytime soon. He has had ample opportunity over the last 18 months to make a place in the team his own and has failed.

Davies was the one of the few successes for Surrey last season, and has started this season in decent nick. He should be given a chance (although, in all probability, England will revert to Prior).

Posted by pom_don on (April 10, 2014, 12:25 GMT)

Pity for him but a relief for England, lots out there way in front of him in both keeping & batting skills.

Posted by real_gone_gadd on (April 10, 2014, 11:57 GMT)

Bairstow not good enough as a batter or a keeper for a place in the team - it's upsetting that he is even in the running for a place in the Test side. Ahead of him must be Prior, Buttler, Davies, possibly Kieswetter and any keeper in the CC who can put together a solid row of scores in the first 2 months of the season.

Posted by AussieDesi on (April 10, 2014, 11:05 GMT)

Would have been nice to hear who else is in the running to take over the gloves? PS Wasn't it only about 12 months ago that Prior was named England Player of the Year or something like that?

Posted by   on (April 10, 2014, 9:28 GMT)

Matt Prior. Who despite a bad run of form in 2013 is, at the moment, a better keeper and a better batsman should be back anyway. Bairstow will have his time in a couple of years.

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