England v West Indies, 1st Test, Lord's May 14, 2012

Bairstow encourages England punt

42

Jonny Bairstow has impressed for England in the one-day game, possessed with a competitive spirit, a natural power and a sharp eye. With such a combination it is little wonder England are in a rush to discover whether he has the aptitude for Test cricket.

Bairstow, the batsman who has left England eager to find out more about him, now faces the challenge of the Lord's slope, a talented West Indies attack in bowler-friendly conditions and the rhythms of the five-day game.

When he makes his debut in the first Test against West Indies, starting on Thursday, he and his late father David will become the 13th father-son combination to play for England. Perhaps a Test debut will come at the right time for Bairstow. His natural instincts might be checked by the Test environment. He will be expected to learn and adjust. He is the sort of vigorous and exciting batsman who makes selectors want to take a punt.

By contrast, the player he has been preferred to, James Taylor, has been left at Nottinghamshire to refine his approach in less high-profile surroundings. Taylor took a bold decision to make the move to Trent Bridge where bowler-friendly conditions can expose his tendency to play across the line but working out his game in difficult batting conditions and success in Division One is his route to future England honours and everyone expects him to get there.

Bairstow will have to play differently than his other innings at Lord's last August but his previous knock provides a good omen: he made 114 from 136 balls with a West Indian, Corey Colleymore, opening the bowling. That was his first century in one-day cricket.

He has also made five first-class centuries, the latest of which came at Scarborough against Leicestershire. His 182 came in a testing scenario, Yorkshire were 33 for 3 when he arrived at the crease, the type of situation where Bairstow has thrived.

"It's probably inner grit," Bairstow said. "I think it's a good attitude to have, thinking 'right we're up against the wall, I want to dig us out of this situation.' It perhaps comes naturally to me; I haven't necessarily worked on it but I'm pleased to have it."

Another natural talent is his power: the asset immediately evident following his 41 from 21 balls on debut in Cardiff which won England the ODI against India. But Bairstow says there is a time and a place for both power, and touch and control - the latter will be the more important skill on Thursday.

Power and an eye for the ball were the initial factors in digging Yorkshire out of a hole at Scarborough. Only after tea on the first day when the scoreboard was more pleasant for the hosts did he settle and knuckle down towards and beyond his hundred. It took time for him to look like a proper Test player: he does have it but his state of mind is generally to be aggressive.

"The mindset I took to Scarborough, to Northampton, to here at Lord's will be the same. It isn't something you can flick on and flick off. Mindset is something that you can only naturally do. Thursday will be the same as every other day. If the ball's there to be hit, it's there to be hit."

But this week Bairstow is the latest man to take possession of the troublesome No. 6 slot. He will want to ensure his tenure is longer than the more recent occupants - Ravi Bopara and Eoin Morgan - whose path to Test cricket through prowess in the one-day arena draws parallels.

He will also have a very keen eye to help him in Geoffrey Boycott - a close family friend. Boycott's wife telephoned Bairstow's mother to offer her congratulations. His mother and sister should be at Lord's this week.

"Geoffrey is very much, if you want to speak to him you can do," Bairstow said. "I'm very grateful to have someone like that. I haven't really picked his brains but it's possible I could speak to him about his experience. I'll probably catch up with him at some point."

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 5wombats on May 16, 2012, 14:00 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge on (May 16 2012, 12:06 PM GMT) - looks like you have a new admirer/stalker....

  • Front_Foot_Lunge on May 16, 2012, 12:38 GMT

    "Jonny Bairstow has impressed for England in the one-day game" - yep an average of 22 is impressive theses days.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on May 16, 2012, 12:06 GMT

    With such a well balanced side, it'll be difficult for anyone new to get into the England team at the moment. Compare that to the Australians, who are so desperate that they'll take club-rate bowlers like Beer, Lyon, Hauritz, Casson (the list is extensive), and elevate them to the test cricket.

  • SDHM on May 16, 2012, 10:59 GMT

    Kearon- Hildreth should have been picked when Bell was injured back in 2010, but the selectors went with Morgan on the back of his showings in one day cricket. I remember hearing whispers that Somerset really weren't happy about it - some commentary on a county game on Sky alluded to Brian Rose asking for an explanation from the selectors about it. It really seemed to knock his confidence - he didn't really begin to regain his form until the end of last season. I actually think a good second half of the season could still see him back in the frame - the recent Lions squad showed, with the inclusion of Compton, that the selectors aren't necessarily averse to having another look at a player they had initially moved on from and he's a better player of spin than your average English batsman, something the selectors should be looking for with a tour to India coming up.

  • JG2704 on May 16, 2012, 7:36 GMT

    @kearon47 on (May 16 2012, 03:40 AM GMT) Well done for such a humble recation to those comms rather than trying to argue the point. I thought JT had a fairly mediocre lions tour whenever I looked at the scorecards but reckon his time may come. Hildreth had a woeful 2011 , just when he looked on the verge of being shoed in. He scored a ton vs Notts recently but has done nothing else much of note. Compton is the form player but they've opted for a batsman who is not in as good a form but still in very good form but is much younger

  • kearon47 on May 16, 2012, 3:40 GMT

    @Barrick and @ Stevros3, thanks for your feedback, yeah ok, so he plays in a weaker competition. Being in Australia I don't actually get to see him play, but I watch him closely with the 'Lions' scoreboards and he always seems to be doing well and is captain. Also, I noticed he averages 48 in 'first class' which seems higher than usual? for county cricket. Also, could you maybe tell me how 'J.Hildreth' is performing, he was in the Lions squad there for awhile and seemed to be doing well.

  • jmcilhinney on May 16, 2012, 0:43 GMT

    @jonesy2 on (May 15 2012, 14:29 PM GMT), Ravi Bopara: played 12 Tests and averages 34.56. Shaun Marsh: played 7 Tests and averages 27.36. Say no more.

  • JG2704 on May 15, 2012, 21:17 GMT

    @StJohn I'm with you on that selection but I'm more happy with the 6/1/4 in Eng than I was in the UAE as 2 spinners were essential in the SC and I feel more concerned about a paceman breaking down if we have only one other paceman in the attack.At least in Eng we'll have 2 other pacemen.Not sure Broad or Bres are good enough with bat to be an all rounder but at 7 and 8 it looks ok and Bres surprisingly averages 40.Always liked the balance of the Ashes 2005 side and going from 6-9 from that side which would have been Flintoff,G Jones,Giles , Hoggard to the 6-9 in a 5 man bowling attack now Prior, Bres,Broad,Swann - I would say that man for man the batting from 6-9 in your line up is better than the the 6-9 in the Ashes 2005 line up.I wouldn't say there is a right or wrong formation as a whole and it depends on the teams resourses.I personally would love a 5th bowler whether it be Finn,CT, Onions over any 6th batsman but others prefer 5/1/5 and I can't see the selectors ever changing

  • JG2704 on May 15, 2012, 20:59 GMT

    @TheHoneymonster on (May 15 2012, 15:04 PM GMT) Could be right but even against India where we did well with the 6/1/4 formation - I think we would have been even better with Finn or Tremlett as a 5th bowler than Ravi or Morgan as a 6th batsmen. They refused to try this out in UAE and SL when we were losing 4 in a row so I can't see us doing it now under any circumstances. I'm quite happy with sticking by a formula which is working but when it wasn't working in UAE the selection policy was way too rigid

  • JG2704 on May 15, 2012, 20:53 GMT

    @AdrianVanDenStael on (May 15 2012, 19:02 PM GMT) A more recent example when Eng played 4 specialist bowlers and one got injured was the 1st test vs SL in SL when Broad was injured and we lost. I'm not necessarily saying go with 5 bowlers now - although that would definitely be my preferred choice - but in (UAE)Pak/SL I felt there were times when an extra bowler would have given us an important breakthrough when wickets dried up at certain points. I'm not going through these points in the matches again as I did it during the tour threads

  • 5wombats on May 16, 2012, 14:00 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge on (May 16 2012, 12:06 PM GMT) - looks like you have a new admirer/stalker....

  • Front_Foot_Lunge on May 16, 2012, 12:38 GMT

    "Jonny Bairstow has impressed for England in the one-day game" - yep an average of 22 is impressive theses days.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on May 16, 2012, 12:06 GMT

    With such a well balanced side, it'll be difficult for anyone new to get into the England team at the moment. Compare that to the Australians, who are so desperate that they'll take club-rate bowlers like Beer, Lyon, Hauritz, Casson (the list is extensive), and elevate them to the test cricket.

  • SDHM on May 16, 2012, 10:59 GMT

    Kearon- Hildreth should have been picked when Bell was injured back in 2010, but the selectors went with Morgan on the back of his showings in one day cricket. I remember hearing whispers that Somerset really weren't happy about it - some commentary on a county game on Sky alluded to Brian Rose asking for an explanation from the selectors about it. It really seemed to knock his confidence - he didn't really begin to regain his form until the end of last season. I actually think a good second half of the season could still see him back in the frame - the recent Lions squad showed, with the inclusion of Compton, that the selectors aren't necessarily averse to having another look at a player they had initially moved on from and he's a better player of spin than your average English batsman, something the selectors should be looking for with a tour to India coming up.

  • JG2704 on May 16, 2012, 7:36 GMT

    @kearon47 on (May 16 2012, 03:40 AM GMT) Well done for such a humble recation to those comms rather than trying to argue the point. I thought JT had a fairly mediocre lions tour whenever I looked at the scorecards but reckon his time may come. Hildreth had a woeful 2011 , just when he looked on the verge of being shoed in. He scored a ton vs Notts recently but has done nothing else much of note. Compton is the form player but they've opted for a batsman who is not in as good a form but still in very good form but is much younger

  • kearon47 on May 16, 2012, 3:40 GMT

    @Barrick and @ Stevros3, thanks for your feedback, yeah ok, so he plays in a weaker competition. Being in Australia I don't actually get to see him play, but I watch him closely with the 'Lions' scoreboards and he always seems to be doing well and is captain. Also, I noticed he averages 48 in 'first class' which seems higher than usual? for county cricket. Also, could you maybe tell me how 'J.Hildreth' is performing, he was in the Lions squad there for awhile and seemed to be doing well.

  • jmcilhinney on May 16, 2012, 0:43 GMT

    @jonesy2 on (May 15 2012, 14:29 PM GMT), Ravi Bopara: played 12 Tests and averages 34.56. Shaun Marsh: played 7 Tests and averages 27.36. Say no more.

  • JG2704 on May 15, 2012, 21:17 GMT

    @StJohn I'm with you on that selection but I'm more happy with the 6/1/4 in Eng than I was in the UAE as 2 spinners were essential in the SC and I feel more concerned about a paceman breaking down if we have only one other paceman in the attack.At least in Eng we'll have 2 other pacemen.Not sure Broad or Bres are good enough with bat to be an all rounder but at 7 and 8 it looks ok and Bres surprisingly averages 40.Always liked the balance of the Ashes 2005 side and going from 6-9 from that side which would have been Flintoff,G Jones,Giles , Hoggard to the 6-9 in a 5 man bowling attack now Prior, Bres,Broad,Swann - I would say that man for man the batting from 6-9 in your line up is better than the the 6-9 in the Ashes 2005 line up.I wouldn't say there is a right or wrong formation as a whole and it depends on the teams resourses.I personally would love a 5th bowler whether it be Finn,CT, Onions over any 6th batsman but others prefer 5/1/5 and I can't see the selectors ever changing

  • JG2704 on May 15, 2012, 20:59 GMT

    @TheHoneymonster on (May 15 2012, 15:04 PM GMT) Could be right but even against India where we did well with the 6/1/4 formation - I think we would have been even better with Finn or Tremlett as a 5th bowler than Ravi or Morgan as a 6th batsmen. They refused to try this out in UAE and SL when we were losing 4 in a row so I can't see us doing it now under any circumstances. I'm quite happy with sticking by a formula which is working but when it wasn't working in UAE the selection policy was way too rigid

  • JG2704 on May 15, 2012, 20:53 GMT

    @AdrianVanDenStael on (May 15 2012, 19:02 PM GMT) A more recent example when Eng played 4 specialist bowlers and one got injured was the 1st test vs SL in SL when Broad was injured and we lost. I'm not necessarily saying go with 5 bowlers now - although that would definitely be my preferred choice - but in (UAE)Pak/SL I felt there were times when an extra bowler would have given us an important breakthrough when wickets dried up at certain points. I'm not going through these points in the matches again as I did it during the tour threads

  • JG2704 on May 15, 2012, 20:45 GMT

    @barrick on (May 15 2012, 11:20 AM GMT) There's no point in countering with anything. They just ignore any response and post the same old rubbish on the next thread

  • JG2704 on May 15, 2012, 20:43 GMT

    @barrick on (May 15 2012, 09:44 AM GMT) I think Ravi was averaging in the low 30s in league 2 and didn't score well in the Lions game prior to his call up. So I guess Taylor is up on him - but you are correct with your post

  • AdrianVanDenStael on May 15, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    @StJohn; I like teams to be attacking and theoretically five bowlers strikes me as a good idea. But as for your question as to what happens if one bowler in a four-man attack gets injured, the current England management might point out that that actually happened against Sri Lanka in Cardiff last year, and the three remaining bowlers managed to bowl out Sri Lanka for 82 in 24 overs, and thus secure the win without which England would not have won that series.

  • SDHM on May 15, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    StJohn - England have trounced all comers at home with the 6 batsmen- 1 wicket keeper - 4 bowler mix. They don't need to change it and they won't any time soon, certainly with conditions the way they are at the moment. Quite simply, with 5 bowlers, one won't bowl; with England's attack, a fourth seamer would be superfluous.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on May 15, 2012, 14:52 GMT

    Yet another England cricketer that will put the fear of God into opposition fans, he's an exciting prospect for the future and a huge, clean hitter of the ball.

  • jonesy2 on May 15, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    cant be any worse than bopara or bell could he? or could he

  • jmcilhinney on May 15, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    @VillageBlacksmith, in my experience, people tend to call other people names to distract from the real issues. If you have a valid argument against Bell then why do you feel the need to antagonise people by calling him names? It's kind of hard to take you seriously that way.

  • StJohn on May 15, 2012, 13:44 GMT

    A truly bold move would be to drop Bell & play Bairstow instead, with Prior at 6, followed by Bresnan, Broad, Swann, Anderson & Finn. The perfect balance in Test cricket is 5 batsmen, 1 keeper-batsman, 1 all-rounder & 4 bowlers - one of whom should be a spinner & ideally all 4 should be able to bat a bit. Broad has enough class with the bat to be in the top 6 (if only he didn't keep getting himself out through rash strokes!). And Bresnan has proved very handy with the bat so far in Tests. So effectively England have 2 all-rounders. Seems like a no-brainer to me: I know having only 4 bowlers is en vogue these days in Tests, but it still seems risky & unbalanced to me: if one of them gets injured... It's also the sort of composition a team without all-rounders might go for, to have the insurance of 6 batsmen. But as we have 2 good all-rounders, playing 6 specialist batsmen seems too risk averse. It's also hard to drop Bresnan or Finn for Bairstow when they've been good in Tests to date.

  • Stevros3 on May 15, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    @ kearon47, I think its more to do with the fact that Taylor had barely scored a run till the Lions match, and given that his prolific run scoring from previous seasons came in the 2nd division. Bairstow however has better recent form (if not as good as Compton). For Taylor to be selected he needs to prove he can consistently score in div 1, not just get in off a single good innings.

  • NBH1 on May 15, 2012, 11:44 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding, actually Bairstow has been keeper in every game he's played for Yorkshire this year. The only game Brophy has played in at all was last week against Leics, and that was because Bairstow was playing for the Lions.

  • barrick on May 15, 2012, 11:20 GMT

    If I ever encounter an Australian complaining about the 'real' nationalities of the England Test side, I remind them of this. If a person cannot change nationality after birth, even if moving country as a small child and spending the rest of their lives there, then their Prime Minister is still Welsh. As one must be an Australian citizen in order to be elected to the House of Representatives, they then have a real old muddle on their hands. Being such a severe breach of their own constitution, the UN would have to cease to recognise the country as a legally constituted nation state until such time as they resolve the problem, and this would mean that the 2010/11 Ashes were a technical 5-0 walkover. Of course, that's only if they refuse to listen to the Wessels/Khawaja etc... argument.

  • VillageBlacksmith on May 15, 2012, 11:05 GMT

    jelly belly counter attack and shepherd the tail? i can only assume that is a joke, and that last years ashes did not happen...? jellybelly spectacularly fails to shepherd the (very good) tail, weakly holes out and is def not a fighter as he simply does not have the guts to even score a ton on his own.....and to the poster who said jelly belly was in 3 winning ashes, wasn't he dropped from one of them for being so timid and ineffectual?

  • Herbet on May 15, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    I have to say that I would have gone for Taylor over Bairstow. Thats not to say I don't believe Bairstow is good, I just think Taylor deserves a go and is, to use Sky's favourite phrase, 'next cab on the rank'. I'm glad to see Bairstow will be making his way at 6 and not 3 or 4. That would have been too high for such a young man and isn't the place to learn, he could have been in too early with the ball doing all sorts. I hope he succeeds, I like the look of him, he seems a bit Pietersen-esque in his style, and, being Yorkshire born and bred we wont get any cocky Australians claiming that the only reason we win test matches in the 21st Century is because we invaded South Africa over 100 years ago.

  • SDHM on May 15, 2012, 10:18 GMT

    Davidpk - Prior has looked so uncomfortable when moved up to 6 though. Granted, he hasn't played much there, but that's partly because it hasn't worked when he has. He only has one hundred from the no. 6 position, and only 3 other 50s. His average at 6 is higher than his career one, but it's distorted by a 131* against the Windies and a fifty against Bangladesh. For me he just looks a better player down at 7 - he is a better player with the tail than given credit for, and his aggression fits the role perfectly. I hope they don't make the mistake they made with Samit Patel in Sri Lanka and shove Bairstow down at 7 - he needs to come in at 6 so he has the opportunity to bat with proper batsmen. I don't think they gave Patel any real chance to succeed by shunting him down at 7, a completely alien role to him. For those still arguing for Taylor, check his record against Bairstow's over the past year. You'd only pick one of them on that form, and it wouldn't be Taylor. His time will come.

  • YorkshirePudding on May 15, 2012, 10:12 GMT

    @jmcilhinney, true just saying that hes generally Brophy's understudy, and will probably take over when brophy steps down. I suspect he'll develop the same way as Alec Stewart did, the question is will he surplant Kieswetter in the ODI & T20 formats?

  • barrick on May 15, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    @kearon47: If we assume that it was one from three (Bairstow, Compton and Taylor), wouldn't it have been seen as a weird choice if the player averaging less than 30 in the Championship this season, with no 50s or 100s until the weekend were chosen ahead of the players averaging almost 120 and 60 with a couple of centuries apiece?

    Surely we shouldn't be basing the Test selection on the grounds of that one warm-up game alone?

  • JG2704 on May 15, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    @landl47 on (May 14 2012, 22:25 PM GMT) Guess it's all about trial and error. I suppose England have Ravi out , don't want to keep faith with SP and really it was a 3 way choice between Compton,Taylor and JB. So obviously they have gone for youth and gone for B ahead of T. I do think Nick Compton on form was the best choice because I believe he has been scoring more runs at a greater average and in a higher division (if it makes any difference) this year. If they are going to try a young player out then better against WI than SA and sure he might fail but there is only one way to find out. Cook started young and apart from a certain period has taken to test cricket like a duck to water.

  • JG2704 on May 15, 2012, 8:22 GMT

    @davidpk on (May 14 2012, 21:24 PM GMT) But isn't having a batsman who doesn't bowl or anything coming in at 7 a bit of a luxury?

  • kearon47 on May 15, 2012, 8:21 GMT

    Weird choice, if Bairstow could bowl as well, then maybe I would understand. J.Taylor is older, captain of the lions, prolific run scorer at a decent run-rate, but maybe he has'nt got the proper bloodlines.

  • DaveMorton on May 15, 2012, 8:14 GMT

    Bairstow is a 'proper batsman' and he is ready. Forget his wicket-keeping, which is irrelevant to this discussion. He could easily bat at 4 or 5 for England, the only caveat being a possible weakness against top-class spin, which he won't meet in Test cricket this summer. Bairstow is, by the way, an outstanding, brilliant outfieldsman.

  • satish619chandar on May 15, 2012, 5:36 GMT

    @landl47 : Well said.. I doubt one thing though.. Why are England not opting for a good batsman who is technically sound for that No.6 slot? They have enough more than handy batters in Prior, Swann and Broad who can slough it off too.. Why not give chance to a proper batsman and groom him for future!

  • jmcilhinney on May 15, 2012, 5:33 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding on (May 15 2012, 03:07 AM GMT), I believe that Bairstow has been preferred to Buttler as keeper in every Lions game they have played together so I can only assume that England see Bairstow as the better keeper, at the moment at least. From what little I've seen of him, Bairstow looks capable of some good things behind the stumps. Sometimes though, people are better at the diving catches than they are at the fine stuff. If he can cement a place based on his batting then it would be a boon for England if he can prove good enough to keep as well, allowing them to bring in another specialist rather than a keeper/batsman when Prior finally does hang up the gloves. I wonder whether he may end up displacing Kieswetter in the ODI side if CK doesn't adjust too well to the move down the order with KP opening.

  • YorkshirePudding on May 15, 2012, 3:07 GMT

    @supa_crickeet, i doubt he'll be seen as a replacement for prior, as at the moment he cant get the gloves off Brophy at yorks, so has no chance with Prior. Buttler may be a better prospect to replace Prior in the long run, but would need to leave Somersett where Kieswetter is the gloveman of choice.

  • YorkshirePudding on May 15, 2012, 3:03 GMT

    @landl47, but thats the point isnt it, in test cricket its how players bounce back from such adversity, and Bopara hasnt bounced back and shown the selectors what he can do when given the opportunity.

  • subbass on May 15, 2012, 1:52 GMT

    It's a minor gamble that could pay off, if not he can go back to just the ODI and T-20 sides to learn and develop some more. To those saying we won't find out much about him by playing the WI I say this. At the moment the conditions in England are bowler friendly and WI have a decent pace attack. Kemar Roach is a very good fast bowler and Rampaul will enjoy bowling in England. Edwards is just avg and there is no quality spinner, but it's a decent attack. Arguably far better than the Indian attack which played last Summer.

    cricinfo plz publish !

  • Meety on May 15, 2012, 1:25 GMT

    "...has impressed for England in the one-day game..." - hmm 6 games with an ave of 22? (Perhaps they meant T20s?) Anyways, I think England can afford the luxury of selecting a youngster like him, given they have a heavy grouping of cricketers of the same/similar age in the rest of the line up. IMO - Taylor would of been the better choice, particularly as he scored a ton v Bairstows 50 in similar conditions against the same attack. @supa_crickeet - I think Bell has some fine attributes, but IMO, none of the ones you listed "...counter attack, shepherd the tail..." (given your 3rd attribute is a re-hash of the first). I don't think he is a particularly cricket-smart cricketer, which I think to be a long term #6 you have to be, if you are not a game-changer/allrounder.

  • barrick on May 14, 2012, 22:40 GMT

    To my mind, a fine decision. There is still an occasional flash of rash play in his batting, such as being caught in the covers in the Kent game two weeks ago when attempting a fourth successive four, but these are now rare enough to be a real surprise when they occur.

    I do wonder whether Bairstow ahead of Bopara would have been the selection regardless of the injury; a debut against South Africa in (hopefully!) mid-summer conditions would not be ideal given the competition for places already mentioned, and the pressure invoked by that competition should there be a slow start, whereas there is a greater opportunity for creating credit with the public and the selectors by facing any international opposition in what are still, this evening, early spring conditions.

    It will be interesting to see, if Bairstow has a convincing start, what happens in India this winter, when two spinners would be the sensible selection.

  • supa_crickeet on May 14, 2012, 22:39 GMT

    I think England forget they have an even better number 6 in Ian Bell. His position up the order serves only to massage his ego, despite the fact that having him come in at 6 is a huge positive that has reaped many rewards. The England management seem to believe the 6 slot is one reserved for rookies and part timers, but it is massively important in all formats. 6 has to counter attack, shepherd the tail or take the game away from the opposition. Perhaps Bairstow is the man for this job, but Bell has done it well in the past, albeit with a more dogged number 5 - Colingwood - coming in before him. Morgan's treatment in the ODI team is particularly symptomatic, where his 'promotion' up the order has left a gaping hole that he initially filled with rare skill. Back to Bairstow, I wonder if the management see him as a long term replacement for prior.

  • landl47 on May 14, 2012, 22:25 GMT

    I think Bairstow has been picked a little too early. Runs against the WI won't necesarily show he is able to handle top class test bowling and the worst thing for him would be to get runs against the WI and then get a real working-over by the South Africans. Bopara, the man he is replacing, got 3 centuries against the WI in 2009 at the age of 23 and was then mauled by the Aussies and hasn't looked the same since. Bairstow undoubtedly has the talent and hopefully the temperament to be a test player; I'd just rather have seen him get another year or two of first-class cricket before being thrown in against the big boys. If he proves me wrong, I'll be delighted.

  • AdrianVanDenStael on May 14, 2012, 21:34 GMT

    Bairstow wouldn't necessarily have been my pick for this role at this time, but the very best of luck to him

  • mikey76 on May 14, 2012, 21:28 GMT

    This is probably the most competitive era in 30 odd years as far as batting goes. Bairstow knows when he walks to the crease he has Taylor, Compton,Bopara and Morgan just to name a few breathing down his neck. This is what makes a good team, competition for places. It's why we were so poor in the 90's, we have far more strength in depth than India or Australia for instance. The bowling is not too shabby either. I don't see this team being a flash in the pan that many on here think.

  • bumsonseats on May 14, 2012, 21:24 GMT

    a number 6 in the making but i think england forget, they have the best number 6 in prior. there are not any better # 6 batters in world cricket an average of 43 and strike rate of better than KP. bat JB at 7 as england only play 4 bowlers in english conditions true batting up to swann at # 10 this will be the line up for against the saffers.

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  • bumsonseats on May 14, 2012, 21:24 GMT

    a number 6 in the making but i think england forget, they have the best number 6 in prior. there are not any better # 6 batters in world cricket an average of 43 and strike rate of better than KP. bat JB at 7 as england only play 4 bowlers in english conditions true batting up to swann at # 10 this will be the line up for against the saffers.

  • mikey76 on May 14, 2012, 21:28 GMT

    This is probably the most competitive era in 30 odd years as far as batting goes. Bairstow knows when he walks to the crease he has Taylor, Compton,Bopara and Morgan just to name a few breathing down his neck. This is what makes a good team, competition for places. It's why we were so poor in the 90's, we have far more strength in depth than India or Australia for instance. The bowling is not too shabby either. I don't see this team being a flash in the pan that many on here think.

  • AdrianVanDenStael on May 14, 2012, 21:34 GMT

    Bairstow wouldn't necessarily have been my pick for this role at this time, but the very best of luck to him

  • landl47 on May 14, 2012, 22:25 GMT

    I think Bairstow has been picked a little too early. Runs against the WI won't necesarily show he is able to handle top class test bowling and the worst thing for him would be to get runs against the WI and then get a real working-over by the South Africans. Bopara, the man he is replacing, got 3 centuries against the WI in 2009 at the age of 23 and was then mauled by the Aussies and hasn't looked the same since. Bairstow undoubtedly has the talent and hopefully the temperament to be a test player; I'd just rather have seen him get another year or two of first-class cricket before being thrown in against the big boys. If he proves me wrong, I'll be delighted.

  • supa_crickeet on May 14, 2012, 22:39 GMT

    I think England forget they have an even better number 6 in Ian Bell. His position up the order serves only to massage his ego, despite the fact that having him come in at 6 is a huge positive that has reaped many rewards. The England management seem to believe the 6 slot is one reserved for rookies and part timers, but it is massively important in all formats. 6 has to counter attack, shepherd the tail or take the game away from the opposition. Perhaps Bairstow is the man for this job, but Bell has done it well in the past, albeit with a more dogged number 5 - Colingwood - coming in before him. Morgan's treatment in the ODI team is particularly symptomatic, where his 'promotion' up the order has left a gaping hole that he initially filled with rare skill. Back to Bairstow, I wonder if the management see him as a long term replacement for prior.

  • barrick on May 14, 2012, 22:40 GMT

    To my mind, a fine decision. There is still an occasional flash of rash play in his batting, such as being caught in the covers in the Kent game two weeks ago when attempting a fourth successive four, but these are now rare enough to be a real surprise when they occur.

    I do wonder whether Bairstow ahead of Bopara would have been the selection regardless of the injury; a debut against South Africa in (hopefully!) mid-summer conditions would not be ideal given the competition for places already mentioned, and the pressure invoked by that competition should there be a slow start, whereas there is a greater opportunity for creating credit with the public and the selectors by facing any international opposition in what are still, this evening, early spring conditions.

    It will be interesting to see, if Bairstow has a convincing start, what happens in India this winter, when two spinners would be the sensible selection.

  • Meety on May 15, 2012, 1:25 GMT

    "...has impressed for England in the one-day game..." - hmm 6 games with an ave of 22? (Perhaps they meant T20s?) Anyways, I think England can afford the luxury of selecting a youngster like him, given they have a heavy grouping of cricketers of the same/similar age in the rest of the line up. IMO - Taylor would of been the better choice, particularly as he scored a ton v Bairstows 50 in similar conditions against the same attack. @supa_crickeet - I think Bell has some fine attributes, but IMO, none of the ones you listed "...counter attack, shepherd the tail..." (given your 3rd attribute is a re-hash of the first). I don't think he is a particularly cricket-smart cricketer, which I think to be a long term #6 you have to be, if you are not a game-changer/allrounder.

  • subbass on May 15, 2012, 1:52 GMT

    It's a minor gamble that could pay off, if not he can go back to just the ODI and T-20 sides to learn and develop some more. To those saying we won't find out much about him by playing the WI I say this. At the moment the conditions in England are bowler friendly and WI have a decent pace attack. Kemar Roach is a very good fast bowler and Rampaul will enjoy bowling in England. Edwards is just avg and there is no quality spinner, but it's a decent attack. Arguably far better than the Indian attack which played last Summer.

    cricinfo plz publish !

  • YorkshirePudding on May 15, 2012, 3:03 GMT

    @landl47, but thats the point isnt it, in test cricket its how players bounce back from such adversity, and Bopara hasnt bounced back and shown the selectors what he can do when given the opportunity.

  • YorkshirePudding on May 15, 2012, 3:07 GMT

    @supa_crickeet, i doubt he'll be seen as a replacement for prior, as at the moment he cant get the gloves off Brophy at yorks, so has no chance with Prior. Buttler may be a better prospect to replace Prior in the long run, but would need to leave Somersett where Kieswetter is the gloveman of choice.