The Ashes 2013-14 November 11, 2013

Prior's calf tear puts Bairstow in line

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Jonny Bairstow may be in line for an unexpected turn as England's Ashes wicketkeeper after scans revealed Matt Prior had suffered a left calf tear during the Australia A match in Hobart and is ruled out of the final warm-up match against an Invitational XI in Sydney.

Prior's diagnosis leaves him in genuine doubt for the first Test in Brisbane, heaping pressure on Bairstow to step in for the position after it appeared he had only a reservist's role in the team director Andy Flower's plans for the series. Bairstow made numerous starts in England at No. 6 but was dropped for the final match at the Oval and arrived down under as the back-up gloveman.

Prior, who has not missed a Test for England since 2009, tweeted: "Obviously very disappointed to be missing the game at SCG but doing everything possible to be ready for the 1st Test at the Gabba!"

Ian Bell, his England team-mate, said: "It's not ideal but it gives some good opportunity to Jonny Bairstow as well. We've seen in the past how important it is to get the whole squad playing cricket before the series starts, because you never know with five Test matches, players need cricket under their belt. Matt is a key part of our success over the last few years and obviously we want to get him recovered as quick as possible.

"I would've thought if Matt's fit then he plays. He's been a massive part of our success, he's vice-captain of this team, he's an important bloke in the dressing room the way he talks to the guys, not just the stuff he does on the field.

"There's still a bit of time, Matt's got himself in fantastic condition for this tour and he's been very good with his rehab, so I've got every faith he'll be fully fit for Brisbane, and it gives someone else an opportunity in this game, and it's good for Jonny to get another game in an England shirt."

Bell said the previous series had provided valuable experience for Bairstow and Joe Root, who appears set for a middle-order commission after struggling at times against the new ball in England. The left-hander Michael Carberry looks set to partner Alastair Cook at the top of the order.

"I could feel for both Rooty and Jonny as young players," Bell said. "The only way to learn about Ashes cricket is by getting involved. You can get a lot of advice from people beforehand but until you've gone through it the feelings and the pressure it's difficult to learn. Those players will be a lot better players for what they've been through. It's nice Jonny gets an opportunity now that he didn't look like he was going to get on this tour early."

Bell said Kevin Pietersen had recovered well from his cortisone injection to the knee and was in line to play at the SCG from Wednesday.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mikaelnorm on November 14, 2013, 3:51 GMT

    England seriously need to consider flying in a proper gloveman, preferably James Foster. I don't think Prior's runs are necessarily going to be the difference between the two sides, and quite honestly Foster, Swann, Broad and Finn all know how to hold a bat, and should probably manage 100 runs per match between them, if not a few more if one of them goes on to a daddy score. @ Chris_P - I've seen a fair bit of Bairstow keeping at Headingley and while he's capable of the odd blinding catch, he is prone to a dropped catch off the spinner or a mis-stumping. Moments like that are more likely going to be the difference.

  • on November 13, 2013, 15:23 GMT

    Andy Flower is the obvious choice. Jeez.

  • JG2704 on November 12, 2013, 23:48 GMT

    @Chris-P - Last sentence re JB was meant to be I don't think Jonny is as bad a choice ....

  • JG2704 on November 12, 2013, 19:06 GMT

    @ Chris_P on (November 12, 2013, 12:11 GMT) I'm the same re Aussie selections , I don't follow the domestic scene at all. Re the WK position - you'd probably have to say that Foster and Read are the best glovemen in England (def most experienced) but I don't see Eng picking players of their age as a quick fix. So of the youngsters (and I'll admit I've not seen much of these players as WKs) you have Jos and Foakes (both average significantly less than JB in the CC and Jonny probably has more WKing experience) Then there is Davies and there are mixed views into how he compares with Jonny. So I think Jonny is as bad a choice as some make out. Have you met the Wombats previously?

  • JG2704 on November 12, 2013, 18:44 GMT

    @ brusselslion -Hello. So if we look at Jonny and the other candidates mentioned. Jonny has scored another couple of 50s since SA and has not been our worst performing batsman (as in top 6) in the last 2 series. He has a significantly better (batting) test average than Read and Foster and a better first class average by at least 5 than all the candidates. Buttler and Foakes first class average are not too dissimilar to Jonny's test average. As I said ,I've not seen much of his WKing so maybe he is lacking there and you could certainly say Read and Foster are better keepers but if you're going on batting (in tests)

    Jonny averages 30 and has scored 4x50 in 20 inns (HS 95)

    Foster averages 25 in 12 inns (HS 48)

    Read averages 19 in 23 inn inc 1 x50 (HS 55)

    In county cricket Jonny aves 43 comp to Buttler's 31 and Foakes 33

    Foster/Read may be better keepers but if we're judging on batsmanship- while I don't say Jonny is great -he seems to have better stats than the others

  • brusselslion on November 12, 2013, 15:06 GMT

    @JG2704: As I admitted in my last post, like you I don't see enough of Bairstow to judge his keeping, however, so far as his batting is concerned I think that he is a bad choice because he has done nothing since the Lords Test against SA to suggest otherwise. As you say yourself, he is technically lacking. In fairness to the selectors, they recognised this fact and were obviously about to reinstate Root as #6. Prior's possible absence may have put the block on that move at least temporarily.

    In normal circumstances, Balance, Stokes, Woakes and maybe even the forgotten man, Taylor, might be current alternatives at #6/7. Maybe they might fail but we don't know yet as none have been given a real run at it, unlike Bairstow.

    We have no choice but to go with Bairstow in this series if Prior is unfit. I hope that he produces a MoM performance and I'll happily eat some humble pie. Let's hope that dish is in the Cookbook!!

  • 122notoutWestByfleet1996 on November 12, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    seems to me that most Australian fans have not seen the performance and results their team have produced over the past few years.

    As for JB, i have been pretty impressed by him - it seems that some have taken a dislike to him as they have their favourite keeper, and no matter how well he has done (and i think, like a few other posters, that when the chips have been down he has produced some good performances), that he isnt worth his place in the side.

    one way or the other it appears we will find out soon enough.

  • Chris_P on November 12, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    @JG2704. I don't usually comment on touring team's selections or capabilities, I figure their own supporters know more about them. Re: JB, the only thing, as a keeper he would have to deal with is the extra bounce from the spinners. something you develop from experience, so not sure how Yorkshire pitches stack up in that way. Sydney won't be like the Gabba or WACA (If he plays there) so he won't learn a great deal, keeping wise, but if he is an established keeper, then he should be able to adapt soon enough. That is also what the batsmen have to adapt to as well. Am looking forward to the first test, hoping Wombats gets along there to catch up for a drink & share some bragging rights, although he has been quiet to date..

  • jmcilhinney on November 12, 2013, 12:03 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Sponge on (November 12, 2013, 11:39 GMT), there was never a chance of a whitewash regardless. This should be a fairly close series. I'd have given England the edge originally but still wouldn't have been wagering large sums of money on them. With rain and injuries now, I'd say that it's an even bet.

  • Wayne_Larkins_Barnet on November 12, 2013, 11:39 GMT

    Australia have not been beaten at the Gabba since 1988 (by an almighty West Indies team). England have only won once at the WACA. Whitewash? What are the odds at the moment with no third seamer putting their hand up and your first pick keep being replace by JB?

  • mikaelnorm on November 14, 2013, 3:51 GMT

    England seriously need to consider flying in a proper gloveman, preferably James Foster. I don't think Prior's runs are necessarily going to be the difference between the two sides, and quite honestly Foster, Swann, Broad and Finn all know how to hold a bat, and should probably manage 100 runs per match between them, if not a few more if one of them goes on to a daddy score. @ Chris_P - I've seen a fair bit of Bairstow keeping at Headingley and while he's capable of the odd blinding catch, he is prone to a dropped catch off the spinner or a mis-stumping. Moments like that are more likely going to be the difference.

  • on November 13, 2013, 15:23 GMT

    Andy Flower is the obvious choice. Jeez.

  • JG2704 on November 12, 2013, 23:48 GMT

    @Chris-P - Last sentence re JB was meant to be I don't think Jonny is as bad a choice ....

  • JG2704 on November 12, 2013, 19:06 GMT

    @ Chris_P on (November 12, 2013, 12:11 GMT) I'm the same re Aussie selections , I don't follow the domestic scene at all. Re the WK position - you'd probably have to say that Foster and Read are the best glovemen in England (def most experienced) but I don't see Eng picking players of their age as a quick fix. So of the youngsters (and I'll admit I've not seen much of these players as WKs) you have Jos and Foakes (both average significantly less than JB in the CC and Jonny probably has more WKing experience) Then there is Davies and there are mixed views into how he compares with Jonny. So I think Jonny is as bad a choice as some make out. Have you met the Wombats previously?

  • JG2704 on November 12, 2013, 18:44 GMT

    @ brusselslion -Hello. So if we look at Jonny and the other candidates mentioned. Jonny has scored another couple of 50s since SA and has not been our worst performing batsman (as in top 6) in the last 2 series. He has a significantly better (batting) test average than Read and Foster and a better first class average by at least 5 than all the candidates. Buttler and Foakes first class average are not too dissimilar to Jonny's test average. As I said ,I've not seen much of his WKing so maybe he is lacking there and you could certainly say Read and Foster are better keepers but if you're going on batting (in tests)

    Jonny averages 30 and has scored 4x50 in 20 inns (HS 95)

    Foster averages 25 in 12 inns (HS 48)

    Read averages 19 in 23 inn inc 1 x50 (HS 55)

    In county cricket Jonny aves 43 comp to Buttler's 31 and Foakes 33

    Foster/Read may be better keepers but if we're judging on batsmanship- while I don't say Jonny is great -he seems to have better stats than the others

  • brusselslion on November 12, 2013, 15:06 GMT

    @JG2704: As I admitted in my last post, like you I don't see enough of Bairstow to judge his keeping, however, so far as his batting is concerned I think that he is a bad choice because he has done nothing since the Lords Test against SA to suggest otherwise. As you say yourself, he is technically lacking. In fairness to the selectors, they recognised this fact and were obviously about to reinstate Root as #6. Prior's possible absence may have put the block on that move at least temporarily.

    In normal circumstances, Balance, Stokes, Woakes and maybe even the forgotten man, Taylor, might be current alternatives at #6/7. Maybe they might fail but we don't know yet as none have been given a real run at it, unlike Bairstow.

    We have no choice but to go with Bairstow in this series if Prior is unfit. I hope that he produces a MoM performance and I'll happily eat some humble pie. Let's hope that dish is in the Cookbook!!

  • 122notoutWestByfleet1996 on November 12, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    seems to me that most Australian fans have not seen the performance and results their team have produced over the past few years.

    As for JB, i have been pretty impressed by him - it seems that some have taken a dislike to him as they have their favourite keeper, and no matter how well he has done (and i think, like a few other posters, that when the chips have been down he has produced some good performances), that he isnt worth his place in the side.

    one way or the other it appears we will find out soon enough.

  • Chris_P on November 12, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    @JG2704. I don't usually comment on touring team's selections or capabilities, I figure their own supporters know more about them. Re: JB, the only thing, as a keeper he would have to deal with is the extra bounce from the spinners. something you develop from experience, so not sure how Yorkshire pitches stack up in that way. Sydney won't be like the Gabba or WACA (If he plays there) so he won't learn a great deal, keeping wise, but if he is an established keeper, then he should be able to adapt soon enough. That is also what the batsmen have to adapt to as well. Am looking forward to the first test, hoping Wombats gets along there to catch up for a drink & share some bragging rights, although he has been quiet to date..

  • jmcilhinney on November 12, 2013, 12:03 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Sponge on (November 12, 2013, 11:39 GMT), there was never a chance of a whitewash regardless. This should be a fairly close series. I'd have given England the edge originally but still wouldn't have been wagering large sums of money on them. With rain and injuries now, I'd say that it's an even bet.

  • Wayne_Larkins_Barnet on November 12, 2013, 11:39 GMT

    Australia have not been beaten at the Gabba since 1988 (by an almighty West Indies team). England have only won once at the WACA. Whitewash? What are the odds at the moment with no third seamer putting their hand up and your first pick keep being replace by JB?

  • JG2704 on November 12, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    @brusselslion on (November 12, 2013, 9:58 GMT) Out of interest , I just wonder why you think JB is such a bad choice? I must admit , I've not seem much of him keeping so maybe he is lacking alot there but in terms of batting (which is all I can judge him on for Eng) I don't see anyone doing much (if any) better

  • JG2704 on November 12, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    @glance_to_leg -

    Technically JB may be lacking but mentally - really? I seem to remember a few instances which disprove that accusation. I remember a young flame haired guy - already written off by many - coming in and taking the attack to the feared SA attack in the 3rd test in 2012. In the 1st inns he came in with Eng 54-4 and departed (having scored 95) with Eng 210 runs better off and then again in the 2nd inns he came in with Eng 4 down for around 50 and scored a 50. Then he was part of pivotal partnerships - with Eng in trouble - vs NZ at home (with Root) and in the 2nd test vs Aus (with Bell) Also in these 2 series he was not the worst of the batsmen. Ok vs Aus he averaged better than Cook because Cook was poor but he still averaged better than Cook and also he averaged better than Prior in both. I'm certainly not saying JB is better than MP but he's not necessarily the step down that he is portrayed as being by many on here

  • brusselslion on November 12, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    @optic: I wasn't actually seriously suggesting that either Buttler or Foakes should be considered, merely trying to indicate that (almost) anyone would be preferable to Bairstow.

    If we want a real keeper then go with Foster. Alternatively, Davies would be a better choice. True, his batting technique isn't perfect, but are you seriously suggesting that Bairstow's is? He plays across the line far too much. Sorry he is not a Test batsman and this has been shown over the past year or so.

    If you say that he has improved his keeping then fair enough, as you obviously see more of him than me. My own view, admittedly based upon one viewing at the Oval last year, is that it is pretty ropey but then I guess everyone is entitled to an off day. Problem with Bairstow is that (batting wise) there have been too many off days in the past 12 months.

    If he does start the 1st Test, I hope that you will be able to ram my comments down my throat but, unfortunately, I doubt it.

  • milepost on November 12, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    Why Bairstow? Is it really a good idea they don't have a keeper who hasn't already been pummeled at the elite level? Very surprising from Flower but a tick for Australia.

  • jmcilhinney on November 12, 2013, 5:02 GMT

    @clarke501 on (November 11, 2013, 22:00 GMT), and then Root moves up to #5 and they're looking at the usual suspects to bat at #6 again, one of whom is Taylor but there seems to be a number of others ahead of him. Certainly noone new is coming in and batting ahead of Bell unless they're opening. I reckon Bell is ready to be an excellent #3 now, which he wasn't when he had the chance unfortunately. Trott is well and truly entrenched in that spot now though.

  • on November 12, 2013, 3:22 GMT

    I'd have Swann as stand-in vice captain.

  • it_happened_last_in_2001. on November 12, 2013, 0:58 GMT

    @ Lyndon McPaul on (November 11, 2013, 4:31 GMT) ............. great points you make about England's batsmen not having any recent test form. Amazing that they won the last series 3-0. Let's look for Australian cricketers with recent ( this calendar year ) experience of wining a single test match .... Hussey ( remember him ? ), Wade, Cowan, Bird. I'm afraid the writing is on the wall. 3 wins in your last 15 test matches - all at home against the world number 7 ranked team says so much more than a bit of banter about who is and isn't in form - Go Mitch & good luck - I think you're going to need it.

  • dunger.bob on November 12, 2013, 0:29 GMT

    @Geoffrey Anthony Plumridge: We actually won the 2007 series 5-0. Not too many excuses needed there.

  • glance_to_leg on November 12, 2013, 0:19 GMT

    This may be a blessing for England. Bairstow has already more or less demonstrated that he has neither the right mentality nor the right technique to bat at test level. This test will probably prove that he is not a good enough keeper either. Bairstow will contribute to England's losing the first test, and it will open up a place on tour either for a better batsman (Taylor), or a better keeper. Indeed, there are probably ten better keepers in England, of whom, at least six are comparably good batsmen. There are also a few bits and pieces players who are probably as good as JB. I hope he proves me wrong, but I don't see him starring behind the stumps or making runs. I'd love to have to eat my words.

  • shillingsworth on November 11, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster - It's actually very simple - if Pietersen is out, Bell slots in at no 4. Why Taylor?

  • JG2704 on November 11, 2013, 21:45 GMT

    @reekiesj on (November 11, 2013, 18:50 GMT) - I doubt Jonny will worry at all about the common man's opinion if he gets a chance to keep in the 1st test. I do however agree with Englishfan in that most of us who criticise selections still want whoever is playing to perform. For the record , I don't have a strong opinion either way re Jonny.

    @TommytuckerSaffa on (November 11, 2013, 19:36 GMT) England are nowhere near SA right now IMO

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (November 11, 2013, 20:04 GMT) TBH I don't have an opinion on who should be vice captain , I just had an inclin that Bell was next in line behind Prior.

  • ashes61 on November 11, 2013, 21:09 GMT

    Deep down we all know that for the 1st Test of an away Ashes series, possibly in considerable heat, we'd want the very best English keeper available, as missed chances can be very, very expensive in lots of ways.But - and it's a big but - England haven't done that for over 20 years and have often picked a 2nd-best intermittently in the last 50 yrs. Remember Murray v Parks? Bairstow was selected as the tour's 2nd choice keeper & one of the 7 or 8 batsmen likely to play in Tests. Any ridiculous talk of his not being up to the task or sending for someone else (who would have much less Test experience) is tantamount to claiming the original selection was flawed, which I don't recall being said much at the time. ALL countries now compromise with WK/batsmen & there are NO top keepers in the Knott/Taylor/Russell class in Test cricket today. I fully expect JB to play whenever MP is unfit & have absolutely no qualms whatever.He could drop catches, but so has Prior lately. He DESERVES some luck!

  • milepost on November 11, 2013, 20:45 GMT

    @optic, I think it's fair to say @FFL has a merry band of followers not just sponge but gunge, PWHS and others (lol) but that is because of the nature of many comments. At the end of the day it's all talk here and is almost always good natured. If people post provocative stuff they might attract attention that's all. Thankfully we have a test match starting next week so we can all talk about that! On Bairstow, I've no reason to knock him but he hasn't even shown county form at international level so I'm not fussed if he replaces Prior (who is class and youth to replace).

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 11, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    @jmcilhinney / JG2704: I probably would go for Broad as well [as vice-captain], despite having pencilled him down to endure a poor series (and hope to be proved wrong); As an outside fling, would maybe try KP for a game or two as VC. For some reason, it was he who ran over to the bowlers during the last Ashes to give advice and encouragement, while Prior remained motionless behind the stumps with a glove over his face...

    I reckon KP's looking O.K. to play, so just thought I'd throw that idea out here.

  • 2MikeGattings on November 11, 2013, 19:55 GMT

    lol Eoin Morgan has done more keeping for England than Jonny B.

  • Cpt.Meanster on November 11, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    I would like to correct what I mentioned in my earlier post. Jonathan Trott is the no.3 and he's fine lol. KP is no.4 and IF he's unavailable, England would need a replacement no.4 and who will that be ? James Taylor any one ?

  • Cricfever_PM on November 11, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    Still 10 days to go for 1st test and if one can't recover in 10 days then the injury should be very serious!! The return Ashes already creating hype around both the team and Ozz players had good and competitive serious in India!!! I think this time Ozz got the right team.. Warner, Rogers, Watson, Clark, Smith, Baily, Haddin, Mitchal, Harish, Siddle & Lyon!!! and eng already have good batting line!!!

  • TommytuckerSaffa on November 11, 2013, 19:36 GMT

    It doesnt matter who England plays as their Wicketkeeper, as they could probably whitewash Oz with only 8 people playing on the day. England is way up there with South Africa as the top tier test teams. Oz I am afraid is way down there with more minnow teams like Bangeldesh and Afghanistan.

    Will Oz be fielding their T20 team again for the Ashes?

  • Cpt.Meanster on November 11, 2013, 19:32 GMT

    More trouble for good ol' England. With Prior gone now, that would expose Bairstow who is still undercooked at this level. KP is on a 'day to day' list which means they would also need a genuine no.3 to cover for him. So England's plans haven't gone according to their plans lol and this doesn't bode well them. The Aussies have their own problems too, some of their players including Clarke fighting for their fitness in time for Brisbane. This series could be the series of the REPLACEMENT players.

  • CodandChips on November 11, 2013, 19:23 GMT

    @reekiesj, just because he prefer other keepers to Bairstow, does not mean we are not behind him, of course we want him to do well. The only people who want him to fail are the Aussies. Also I doubt my or anybody else's comments on here are going to affect his confidence.

  • CodandChips on November 11, 2013, 19:14 GMT

    @Optic I get your points, but Bairstow has been found out in international cricket and has a poor record in ALL forms of the game for England. Plus he keeps missing straight balls, which is a very very basic mistake. At least Aus wouldn't have too many plans for Davies. Also when he opened in ODIs he proved he could carry his bat, and imo got dropped unfairly. But I take your points.

  • reekiesj on November 11, 2013, 18:50 GMT

    I get very frustrated with the perpetual "knockers" who seem to want to undermine Bairstow's confidence. He was selected as the WK understudy. Get over it. Don't call for alternatives just because your little favorites were not selected. He is a great team player, has taken the mistreatment he has suffered over the last year in an incredibly mature way. I'd like to see anybody produce top form after minutes of play time and drinks carrying instead of consistent time in the middle. Oh, and by the way, I seem to remember he took 6 catches in the first Yorkshire game he played after being dropped from the England team. Get behind him and the rest of the team. The whole unit needs to function, and the WK is only one part of that.

  • Optic on November 11, 2013, 18:27 GMT

    @ Englishfan Seriously you think Davies can keep better than Bairstow. I'd say they were about the same tbh, neither the greatest keepers. To say Davies can bat and Jonny can't is fiction imo. Lets be honest, Davies has got more technical faults than Bairstow and would get ironed out at test level. He hits in the air far too much especially through the covers, he doesn't play with a straight bat which leads to getting caught in the slip, gully area a lot and is weak outside off stump. He averages 38 in FC cricket to Jonny's 43, in no way shape or form is he a better batsmen. Just because he hasn't been exposed to test cricket, doesn't make him a better batsmen.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on November 11, 2013, 18:14 GMT

    Hey spongy, I can see that Australia continously being hammered by England in the Ashes must concern you greatly. Considering it was 4-0 just a couple of months ago I you sure it wouldn't be a 'stretch' for one to ask if England could win 1 game more this time? It's a perfectly fair and balanced question to ask given what we know about the two teams and their history.

  • Optic on November 11, 2013, 18:14 GMT

    @ Front-Foot-Sponge A few sarnies short of a picnic, lol look who's talking, some dude who thinks copying another posters name is hilariously original and then follows him around cricinfo replying to everyone of his posts. To me that's a bit creepy and weird.

  • Optic on November 11, 2013, 18:11 GMT

    @ brusselslion LOL are you being serious Foakes and Buttler? Neither are a patch on Bairstow especially with bat or with gloves. Yes lets rush a kid with 20 FC games under his belt who averages 32 with the bat, that wouldn't end in disaster. Wasn't it Foakes who cae on the A tour last winter and couldn't score a run. Or Jos Buttler who averages 31 who shouldn't be anywhere near the test team at the moment. Prior's a huge loss but with gloves and bat and also his on field experience but Jonny's a good man to step. Those that say he's a make shift keeper obviously don't know what they are talking about. He's kept wicket for Yorkshire since he first came into the side and although not as a good as Prior he's better than many out there. I've watched Jonny keep a lot for Yorkshire over the past few years and since he's been working with Brice French this past year it's improved no end, especially his footwork and close up to spinners. It's also a lot easier to keep in Aus than England.

  • CodandChips on November 11, 2013, 17:53 GMT

    Ashame no Davies. To be honest I'd rather have Bates or Foster than Bairstow. Bates, although he can't bat, is the best keeper in the country, along with Foster. Davies can bat and keep. Bairstow can't bat (test average 30, no 100s, 4 50s, many matches) and his keeping isn't too good.

  • Wayne_Larkins_Barnet on November 11, 2013, 17:29 GMT

    @FFL, 5-0 is a thrashing and that's something England have only ever experienced as the losing side (quite a few in this team too) so I think the continent of Australia is ok at producing cricketers. Even for you it's embarrassing to see you strain so hard to believe this England team will dish out a thrashing of 4 or 5 nil! I think you are a class apart and a few sarnies short of a picnic. Bairstow isn't any good, we already know that.

  • stormy16 on November 11, 2013, 16:06 GMT

    Surely Eng need to call up the next best keeper in the country for the vital 1st test of the Ashes. I don't see how you can go in to a test match with a makeshift keeper and there is plenty of time to get in a replacement. I am not even sure if Bairstow would get a place in the playing eleven as a batter but certainly not as a keeper.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on November 11, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    @wonderstar1: Would these be the same 'over-hyped' players that even Aussie fans like yourself have had to confess, after endless series' thrashings admittedly, are a class apart from anything the continent of Australia could pull together? I'd be interested to know if you think it'll be 4-0 again or 5-0 this time, what do yer reckon?

  • on November 11, 2013, 15:49 GMT

    What a shame. Prior has to sit out without any prior warning! And, for England, after all the Brain-Storming over the years , they could come up with a BairStow. Hope he doesn't come with "Bare" hands .. no catches, no stumpings! Or, not enough of either or both.. Otherwise he will be "Stowed" back to the benches or even beyond!

    By the way, are there not better keepers, in the whole county circuit?

  • on November 11, 2013, 15:31 GMT

    @electric_loco_WAP4 ".. good for a few 100 wkts more in tests alone , not incl. all those 'hit' 'wicket' batsmen not officialy in the scorecard as 'out' !-:) . Think of it Eng already 2 players down"

    Two points - 'hit wkt' counts as a wicket for the bowler and the possible loss of two out of form players (Pietersen & Prior) both of whom will probably play hardly compares to Australia's injury woes.

    The Barmy Army are tuning up already 'He bowls it to the left, he bowls it to the right..'

  • wonderstar1 on November 11, 2013, 15:12 GMT

    Cant wait for australia to smash these overhyped Eng cricketers and show them their true place.

  • mtfb on November 11, 2013, 14:37 GMT

    I seem to remember Prior and Alec Stewart were no great shakes with the gloves when they made their respective wicket keeping test debuts. Both were more like back-stops. Bairstow is more a "proper keeper" than either of them and his keeping is streets ahead.

  • Juiceoftheapple on November 11, 2013, 14:17 GMT

    I'm a big Prior fan, but Bairstow is a very good batsman, and I'm extremely glad that Bairstow has been seriously looked at so that in the event of this injury we are not throwing someone in with no test batting experience. I personally think Bairstow should be playing in all ODIs, and on balance from what I've seen of his batting he has a decent chance of making a good test batsman (plus wickie).

  • brusselslion on November 11, 2013, 14:07 GMT

    When do the 'Performance' squad arrive? Is there time to get Buttler or Foakes ready?

  • on November 11, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    With respect to the Yorkies singing Bairstow's praises. He seemed ok against seam in the few games I've watched him keep - but his footwork against the turning ball - not good. The ball hitting the gloves with hard hands and falling to the floor happened several times in one 30 minute spell I watched. He did not look very good at all. Someone said "Well he's at least as good a keeper a Dhoni" If that's not damning with the faintest of praise I don't know what is. Watching Dhoni keep last winter against England I felt embarrassed for him most of the time - As an attacking Batsman Dhoni has no equal these days - but with the gloves he's about half a bar above "flipping terrible" He took the gloves off and bowled some skiddy trundlers in one game and seemed a better bowler than a keeper.

  • 2.14istherunrate on November 11, 2013, 13:38 GMT

    There were signs that Prior's form was returning with the bat. I do not think he will Brisbane because he will move heaven and earth to be there. Re Bairstow it will good to get him out there for a number of reaons. In any case he would do an okay reserve job and who knows? his batting may yet be needed in Tests. Bit as I said, Prior will be out there in Brisbane.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on November 11, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    Can't be truer' Cricket is basically a mental game' . As proven no. of occasions in past . Just take eg, of mighty Aus of recent history - any team who were to meet the world no.1,be it test ,ODI, T20 or be it a W/Cup or Champs/T, however good they may be had 'lost' 60 % of the game out of mental aspects like 'fear', 'awe ', 'aura' of playing their mighty opponents.Was matter of just Aus finishing them off clinically in actual game.Just like case of bowler of this gen. ,the fastest in world , 1 only L/F tearaway Mitch and prospect of him on song on Perth/Gabba @ 155 kph facing him can jitter the opp. bats mentally .I thing is great news - not so if are a batsman !-:) - for Aus and world cricket that 'left arm Thomson',Johnson is fast getting back his mojo,is looking good for a few 100 wkts more in tests alone , not incl. all those 'hit' 'wicket' batsmen not officialy in the scorecard as 'out' !-:) . Think of it Eng already 2 players 'down' in KP,Prior before ball 1 in Ashes .

  • on November 11, 2013, 12:37 GMT

    Not having a proper keeper can be a huge mistake. Keepers should inspire confidence and "lead" the attack in fielding as it were. A confident, good keeper exudes energy and confidence and keeps the fielders on their toes. Not sure Bairstow fits that mould. FYI, Alec Stewart kept wicket from an early age, I know, I played against him.

  • Harlequin. on November 11, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    @JG - i stand corrected, thank you!

  • JG2704 on November 11, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    @ Dark_Harlequin on (November 11, 2013, 10:49 GMT) Just to pick you up on one point , the game vs SA was not his debut. Personally I can see reasons for and against Jonny getting a longer run.

    @ jmcilhinney on (November 11, 2013, 11:00 GMT) For some reason I had Bell down as next in line but I could be wrong

  • on November 11, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    I could accept Bairstow's weaknesses as a keeper if he was clearly a test class batsman - but.... Get Foster or Davies on a plane today!

  • jmcilhinney on November 11, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (November 11, 2013, 9:45 GMT), Broad was the VC before Prior so will presumably be the VC in his absence. He is still the captain of the T20 side so it makes sense.

  • Harlequin. on November 11, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    Hopefully, Davies will be flown out shortly! Equally hopefully, if Bairstow gets a game and does nothing bat and/or drops a few, then England will turf him like they did Compton. Bairstow seems to have lived for a long time on the back of a very decent test debut against the Saffers, but has disappointed since.

    As for the best w/k in the world debate, Dhoni wins it for ODI's but not test. I didn't think Sanga kept anymore but could be wrong. ABdV is absolute class, but Prior has dug England out of some holes with the bat and is probably slightly better with the gloves so for me it is even stevens between MP & AB.

    @kensohatter - Healy was a cracker, but Jack Russell wins it for me. Admittedly I might be slightly biased as he was such an endearing character as well.

  • BiggerAl66 on November 11, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    I have no problem with Bairstow's wicket keeping ability. Don't forget that Mark Boucher and Alex Stewart were not specialist wicket keepers when they started their careers, they were both specialist batsmen who kept wicket occasionally, and then got rather good at it! Although Foster is the best keeper in England, and probably the world, i feel that Bairstow can do a great job and that Prior might even struggle to get back in the team. Both Prior and Bairstow are front line batsmen of test standard and it makes a huge difference to the balance of the side to have players of this quality batting at 7.

  • munna_indian on November 11, 2013, 10:45 GMT

    elsewhere, away from the hype surrounding the cricket's greatest man's final match at mumbai, here comes the mother of all contests having rich tradition and history. this series should be touted as the battle of equals in the ashes history in a long time to come. the aussies have all along suppressed their preparations in the lead up to brisbane while the english have as usual been calm and composed. while the aussies still rely on mind and verbal games to instill doubts in the minds of the english, i would be pleased to tune to the television to watch atleast the first day's play ball by ball as the intensity of this contest would be enormous. kudos to the best team.

  • wrenx on November 11, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    What do we think? Mitchell Johnson to have a go at Kemar-Roaching Bairstow from ball one?If Prior is injured, and Bairstow struggles, is there an alternative option in the squad? Or do England have time to send for another keeper to join them?

  • kensohatter on November 11, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    Lets be honest keeping standards have dropped significantly since the days of the specialist. Ian Healy in my opinion was the best gloveman ive seen. He dropped barely anything and then kept to an emerging warne when the worlds best batsman could pick him. Ask yourself this would he make an England/ India or SA team at present? He wasnt the best bat. The focus is now on batting averages which as resulted in glovework being seen as secondary. Bairstow fits the modern mould.

  • on November 11, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    I think unless you are going to go for the best wicketkeeper, which is James Foster in my opinion, who also batted well last season albeit in div 2. I think Bairstow is the next best option...Kieswetter's not as good in either department. Jos Buttler def not a better option because he lacks experience and had to move to Lancashire to Keep wicket. Steven Davis hasnt been involved in England set up for awhile now. I think Prior hasnt been at his best but i think his runs in India and NZL have been forgotten to quickly. He is the cornerstone of this England Team alongside Cook, Anderson and Swann. Lets just hope KP is okay because i wouldnt want to blood another youngster in the first test of an Ashes downunder. its imperative that we start strong and keep our foot down on the Ozzie's throat.

  • Cyril_Knight on November 11, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    Saw Bairstow keep for a long, long time at The Oval at the end of the summer. Was not impressed at all. There was a lot of talk about it being his last chance to secure a place on tour and it seemed to negatively effect his concentration. He dropped three, I think, two were straight in and out, not while diving and missed an easy stumping. It was obviously a bad two days in the field, but my worry is that with even greater pressure on his keeping will flounder even more.

    If England can bat first and allow him to settle, perhaps score some runs, then I don't think we'll have anything to worry about. Wicketkeeping is so effected by confidence. He may well feel less pressure knowing that Prior will be back for the second Test.

  • milepost on November 11, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    This is not a like for like replacement. Despite Prior's dire form in the Ashes he is a quality player and Bairstow is not. Australia certainly trump the wicket keeper batsman spot.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 11, 2013, 9:45 GMT

    Blimey... I put the cricket progress-checking policy to one side for a weekend, and suddenly half the England team appears to be injured, junkies and/or not yet warmed up. It's suddenly all gone a bit pear-shaped for the three lions.

    Bairstow is a first-choice wicket-keeper in county cricket! - I don't understand posters claiming he's just a 'part-timer'/'fill-in' wicket-keeper. Whether or not he's a suitable 'like-for-like' replacement to Prior in test cricket is a different argument.

    Prior has been criticised (by myself included) for his poor vice-captaincy skills recently; should he miss out, who will be the 'new' vice-captain?

  • JG2704 on November 11, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    I think , no matter what form he's in Eng will miss other qualities (his experience etc) he brings to the field Just have to hope that Jonny can thrive on his chance. He is capable (as a batsman) as he has shown before in inns vs Aus,NZ and 2 vs SA but now is time to deliver. Also a good opportunity to ensure he's the forerunner for Matt's position when he retires - ahead of the other JB and whoever else

  • JG2704 on November 11, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    @Lyndon McPaulon (November 11, 2013, 4:31 GMT) So batsmen being in bad form from 2-3 months ago means they'll be in similarly bad form in this series? So by the same token all we need is luck on Eng's side and some favourable decisions (as we all know Aus got all the bad decisions) and Aus to blow it with the bat (when in winning positions) and weather to help Eng when in trouble and the score will be 3-0 again right? There's no possible chance those batsmen could be back in form during this series is there?

    @dunger.bob on (November 11, 2013, 6:21 GMT) JB is a WK - (maybe not great) but it is his one position at Yorks

    @rickyvoncanterbury on (November 11, 2013, 8:49 GMT) I like the way you have 1 person down as reflecting the views of a nation

  • on November 11, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    @DylanBrah- true, a lot like Australian fans have been making all sorts of amazing excuses since 2007. Maybe we should learn from the best!

  • JohannK on November 11, 2013, 9:32 GMT

    Three w/k batsman in world cricket are better than prior: Sangakarra, Dhoni and AB de Villiers. Prior will never be as good at batting as any of those and his keeping is on par for international wicket keepers (i.e. nothing special). But you have to hand it to England - they know how to talk up their players. I would not be surprised if Bairstow at no 7, rather than 6, will do as good a job as Prior. He might be nervous initially, but he is a better keeper than Prior was at the same age.

  • RVC-38 on November 11, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    I would really love Bairstow to get a run, then Englands supporters can tell us all.. they now have the best two wk/batsmen IN THE WORLD and the next best 3 at home. .

  • DylanBrah on November 11, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    Prior is in appalling form anyway so England fans need not worry. But we all know they will be full of excuses after the Gabba Test when they inevitably lose.

  • jmcilhinney on November 11, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    @dunger.bob on (November 11, 2013, 6:21 GMT), Bairstow is a keeper, no two ways about it. Some people seem not to realise that he is the first-choice keeper for Yorkshire. The question really is whether he's a Test-class keeper. The answer to that remains to be seen but, while he's certainly not the best keeper in the country, he's probably as good as Prior was at the same age. England obviously see a lot of potential there as both a batsman and keeper.

  • on November 11, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    I wonder how many of ypu suggesting Bairstow is not up to scratch as a keeper have actually seen him keep much? I don't miss too much England cricket and I am not sure if I have seen him keep at all! Matt Prior keeps in tests and Jos Buttler in odi and T20 so he has not had much opporunity to prove himself, perhaps some Yorkshire folk could comment rather than the usual lot. I would be considering getting Jos Buttler's kit packed just in case.

  • nickinsingapore on November 11, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    Barstow is not a part time keeper, he keeps wicket for Yorkshire on a regular basis. He gets some unjustified criticism given the fact that England have treated him with disdain. He gets no cricket between games as a member of the squad, gets thrown into games without any time in the middle and yet was no worse than Cook, Trott et al during the summer. But why let the facts spoil a story!

  • Lmaotsetung on November 11, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    People...people....people....Johnny Bairstow IS NOT a part timer. He's very much a specialist wk/batsman. Maybe those who don't follow Eng gets the impression that JB is a part timer due to the fact that Prior has set very high standards for that position. Anyone who replaces Prior will always be compared to him and don't forget he's the vice captain and a huge influence of when to use DRS behind the stumps as well as the glue that binds the slip cordon. JB is certainly no worse than any of the Aussie keeper save for maybe Haddin who has improved quite a bit and played very well in England. I see JB as similar to Dhoni in keeping ability atm and I have no problem with him coming in at #7.

  • Dadders on November 11, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    Obviously I don't want us to be without the best wk/batsman in world cricket, but no problems with Bairstow having the gloves. He has shown himself quite capable for Yorkshire. He is more than just an occasional fill-in keeper. When available for Yorkshire he almost invariably dons the gloves ahead of Hodd

  • on November 11, 2013, 8:08 GMT

    Mr Lyndon McPaul I suggest you worry about your own side matey! Not exactly flooded with recent success and Test class is it? Clarke if he's fit and that's about it in the batting front. Bowling? Yes, Harris if he doesn't break down, Siddle is steady, Johnson? Who know? Spin bowling- ha ha ha. So not too much there for us to worry about mate

  • on November 11, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    Depends what grade of year it is. The highest grade and you are talking weeks, the lowest and you can be talking ten days or less. Didn't look too bad when he did it. Bairstow only a part time keeper though and batting looks limited at Test level, struggles to play straight from balls on off inclined to middle line.

  • GeoffreysMother on November 11, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    Baistow is as good behind the wickets as Haddin and better than Wade. He is less good than Prior is now but as good as he was when he came into the team. His youth and athleticism means he will keep well to the quick men but it will take time to get used to keeping to Swann and to bed in with a slip cordon he is not used to. His normal game is as wicket keeper /batsman and ironically the dual role may well take pressure off rather than put it on. Bell is right - you need time to get used to the Ashes, and using players that have been round this environment is the sensible think to do. For Root and Bairstow who are used to timing the ball on the quicker, truer wickets produced at Headingley these days, Australian pitches may well be more to their liking than those in England this summer.

  • Lmaotsetung on November 11, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    Judging by Prior's form since left the shores of New Zealand, might not be that big of a loss batting wise but the keeping will defintely take a hit

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on November 11, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    The best WC-Batsman in the world, Matt Prior is a tough absence for England but we all know Bairstow can bat so now is his time. After the first test we may well be singing all his praises, but if he can only muster an 'Aussie' standard of wicketkeeping (we all know how bad that can be!) then he'll have to be replaced and someone else flown over.

  • Nutcutlet on November 11, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    It's beginning to look like a classic case of (let's be polite) Murphy's Law. There was a distinct fuzziness over the selection of a 2nd w/k for this trip. Matt P would stay fit, wouldn't he, & well, Jonny B would be there to fill in for a session or two at a push, should the need arise. Now it's quite possible that England will go to Brisbane without a fit genuine Test class w/k. (I have JB as an average county w/k, no more). Not for the first time, Andy Flower must be looking back to 2010, thinking how well that went. Steven Davies (a w/k bat of pure class) was waiting in the wings, but he wasn't required, so good was the planning. There'll be fingers crossed in the days ahead, but that won't work, any more than any other superstition. If Prior's injury doesn't clear up in a couple of weeks, I can see a call for another class w/k being made. I'm with you, Paul R-C & dunger.bob.

  • HatsforBats on November 11, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    Not too sure about Bell's physio-therapeutic knowledge here. At his age, if it really is an actual torn calf, I wouldn't expect Prior to be fully fit until Adelaide! Those quick singles really do put some stress on the lower leg. The tour preparation really isn't going to plan and couldn't be more different than the previous tour. I'm sure Aus would prefer Bairstow taking the gloves rather than an in-form Prior.

  • on November 11, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    Think the squad for the first test would be Cook carbery trott pietersen (most will be fit ) Bell root bairstow (wk) broad swann Anderson tremlett

  • on November 11, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    Gotta feel bad for Foster, Read and Davies. Seeing a cardboard palmed fumbler like "Teflon" Bairstow get a game with the gloves ahead of them must be a real kick in the teeth for proper keepers

  • dunger.bob on November 11, 2013, 6:21 GMT

    Bad luck for Prior. I'm no doctor but a torn calf doesn't sound too good at all.

    What I don't quite get is Bairstow a wicket-keeper or not. There seem to be conflicting opinions on that.

    I don't presume to tell England how to go about it's business, but really, it could be a rocky old road if you haven't got someone reliable behind the stumps. .. There's still time to fly a proper one out from England I'd say.

  • jmcilhinney on November 11, 2013, 5:40 GMT

    Certainly a lot of turmoil for England in the lead up to this series, which is never ideal. If Prior would have played this series the way he did the last then Bairstow will not be a step down and could even be a step up. Of course, all we England fans were hoping for much more from Prior than that, so it will be hard for Bairstow to live up to those expectations. It could be a big opportunity for him though because he looked on the verge of being forgotten and a good contribution with the bat will at least get him back in contention for a middle order spot. He's obviously very talented and I think people forget that many a very good or even great player had a slow start to their career and many were dropped at least once before really establishing themselves. I wish Bairstow all the best if he plays in the third warmup and the first Test but I'm still hoping Prior is fit at least for the fourth warmup between the first two Tests. I guess Broad will be VC in Prior's ansence.

  • kensohatter on November 11, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    I cant remember a time that Australia sent a squad to England without a specialist reserve keeper. Even when they dominated They had Gilly and Haddin in 05 then Haddin and Manou in 09 and this series they sent Haddin and Wade. Its a squad because every position should be covered in case of injury. A specialist keeper that could handle the spin of Swann should have been sent. It prob wont cost england the series because englands bowlers will create more than enough chances but if Australia had a stronger squad this mistake could have been costly. Id say England need to think about reserves now... an injury in the batting line up first test could really expose them

  • bobagorof on November 11, 2013, 5:11 GMT

    @Lyndon McPaul: I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. Cook may not have 'recent Test form' but he did just score 150-odd in a day, in a 300 run partnership with his likely opening partner for the 1st Test. There's questions over the quality of that attack but it included one former Test bowler, one very close to Test selection, a recent Test all-rounder and a spin bowler who was on the fringes of selection before injury a few years ago. In any case, England showed the last time they were out here that they only really need two batsmen to have a big partnership to lock Australia out of the match - and one of the chief destroyers (Bell) has 'recent Test form'.

  • satishchandar on November 11, 2013, 4:32 GMT

    Prior need to be carefully monitored. He is one vital cog of English batting along with KP.. They are the only enforcers in the team.. Others can stay longer than these two but certainly, these guys can dictate terms to any opponents.. Plus, Prior knows how to bat with the tail more than Bairstow.

  • on November 11, 2013, 4:31 GMT

    mmmmm lets look for Some English batsmen in the current lineup with some recent test form.1.Carberry/No (of Course) 2.Cook/No 3.Trott/No 4.Pietersen/Yes (though carrying an injury and maybe a bit rusty) 5. Bell/Yes 6.Root/No 7.Bairstowe/No and very inexperienced. So only 2 out of six batsmen with any recent test form to speak of and one of those carrying an injury and looking rusty on this tour so far. On top of this England seem to have only half baked flaky looking options for the third seamers role.Without being over confident or too cocky; I would say that England are looking very vulnerable. Selectors take note: WE DONT NEED MJ's ERRATIC FIREWORKS TO BOWL ENGLAND OUT!! We only need a reliable support for Harris as our main strike bowler for this weakened (not weak) lineup. If the bowlers all bowl good tight lines to specific plans that should be enough!!

  • landl47 on November 11, 2013, 4:25 GMT

    Great guy that he is, Matt Prior didn't have a good series against Australia in England, either with the bat or the gloves. England doesn't lose anything in batting by having Bairstow at #7. I haven't seen much of Bairstow as a keeper, but he has been Yorkshire's regular W/K for several years now, so he's not a novice. There's no doubt he'll be great standing back; the question is whether he can keep well to Swann. If he's OK there, England won't be in bad shape even if Prior is out.

  • on November 11, 2013, 3:24 GMT

    bairstow...again, jeez when will they just leave him out, its outrageous he has the opportunity over so many of the talented wicketkeepers in england

  • Jda123 on November 11, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    Well as batting goes Prior hasn't done anything amazing for a while, the NZ tour away and in England and then the Ashes, the difference in WK will tell

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  • Jda123 on November 11, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    Well as batting goes Prior hasn't done anything amazing for a while, the NZ tour away and in England and then the Ashes, the difference in WK will tell

  • on November 11, 2013, 3:24 GMT

    bairstow...again, jeez when will they just leave him out, its outrageous he has the opportunity over so many of the talented wicketkeepers in england

  • landl47 on November 11, 2013, 4:25 GMT

    Great guy that he is, Matt Prior didn't have a good series against Australia in England, either with the bat or the gloves. England doesn't lose anything in batting by having Bairstow at #7. I haven't seen much of Bairstow as a keeper, but he has been Yorkshire's regular W/K for several years now, so he's not a novice. There's no doubt he'll be great standing back; the question is whether he can keep well to Swann. If he's OK there, England won't be in bad shape even if Prior is out.

  • on November 11, 2013, 4:31 GMT

    mmmmm lets look for Some English batsmen in the current lineup with some recent test form.1.Carberry/No (of Course) 2.Cook/No 3.Trott/No 4.Pietersen/Yes (though carrying an injury and maybe a bit rusty) 5. Bell/Yes 6.Root/No 7.Bairstowe/No and very inexperienced. So only 2 out of six batsmen with any recent test form to speak of and one of those carrying an injury and looking rusty on this tour so far. On top of this England seem to have only half baked flaky looking options for the third seamers role.Without being over confident or too cocky; I would say that England are looking very vulnerable. Selectors take note: WE DONT NEED MJ's ERRATIC FIREWORKS TO BOWL ENGLAND OUT!! We only need a reliable support for Harris as our main strike bowler for this weakened (not weak) lineup. If the bowlers all bowl good tight lines to specific plans that should be enough!!

  • satishchandar on November 11, 2013, 4:32 GMT

    Prior need to be carefully monitored. He is one vital cog of English batting along with KP.. They are the only enforcers in the team.. Others can stay longer than these two but certainly, these guys can dictate terms to any opponents.. Plus, Prior knows how to bat with the tail more than Bairstow.

  • bobagorof on November 11, 2013, 5:11 GMT

    @Lyndon McPaul: I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. Cook may not have 'recent Test form' but he did just score 150-odd in a day, in a 300 run partnership with his likely opening partner for the 1st Test. There's questions over the quality of that attack but it included one former Test bowler, one very close to Test selection, a recent Test all-rounder and a spin bowler who was on the fringes of selection before injury a few years ago. In any case, England showed the last time they were out here that they only really need two batsmen to have a big partnership to lock Australia out of the match - and one of the chief destroyers (Bell) has 'recent Test form'.

  • kensohatter on November 11, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    I cant remember a time that Australia sent a squad to England without a specialist reserve keeper. Even when they dominated They had Gilly and Haddin in 05 then Haddin and Manou in 09 and this series they sent Haddin and Wade. Its a squad because every position should be covered in case of injury. A specialist keeper that could handle the spin of Swann should have been sent. It prob wont cost england the series because englands bowlers will create more than enough chances but if Australia had a stronger squad this mistake could have been costly. Id say England need to think about reserves now... an injury in the batting line up first test could really expose them

  • jmcilhinney on November 11, 2013, 5:40 GMT

    Certainly a lot of turmoil for England in the lead up to this series, which is never ideal. If Prior would have played this series the way he did the last then Bairstow will not be a step down and could even be a step up. Of course, all we England fans were hoping for much more from Prior than that, so it will be hard for Bairstow to live up to those expectations. It could be a big opportunity for him though because he looked on the verge of being forgotten and a good contribution with the bat will at least get him back in contention for a middle order spot. He's obviously very talented and I think people forget that many a very good or even great player had a slow start to their career and many were dropped at least once before really establishing themselves. I wish Bairstow all the best if he plays in the third warmup and the first Test but I'm still hoping Prior is fit at least for the fourth warmup between the first two Tests. I guess Broad will be VC in Prior's ansence.

  • dunger.bob on November 11, 2013, 6:21 GMT

    Bad luck for Prior. I'm no doctor but a torn calf doesn't sound too good at all.

    What I don't quite get is Bairstow a wicket-keeper or not. There seem to be conflicting opinions on that.

    I don't presume to tell England how to go about it's business, but really, it could be a rocky old road if you haven't got someone reliable behind the stumps. .. There's still time to fly a proper one out from England I'd say.

  • on November 11, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    Gotta feel bad for Foster, Read and Davies. Seeing a cardboard palmed fumbler like "Teflon" Bairstow get a game with the gloves ahead of them must be a real kick in the teeth for proper keepers