On Wednesday (July 21), the England and Wales Cricket Board named the Test squad that will take on India in a five-match series beginning on August 4. Jonny Bairstow has been included in the Test squad.
Bairstow had a disastrous tour of India as far as the red-ball series is concerned and he was dismissed on a duck thrice in the four innings where he featured. The wicket-keeper batsman was also excluded from England’s two-match test series against New Zealand which they ended up losing 0-1 just ahead of the World Test Championship Final.
Jonny Bairstow is likely to stake a claim at the number 3 position in the batting order with Zak Crawley’s lean run of scores being taken into consideration. Bairstow can also provide an extra pair of hands behind the stumps. Although James Bracey hasn’t been included, Jos Buttler is expected to don the gloves as well at some point. Buttler was also omitted from England’s previous five Test matches as part of the rotation policy.
Speaking to Talk Sport before the squad was announced, head coach of Welsh Fire Gary Kirsten said, “We’re hearing that Jonny Bairstow, who we’ve designated as our captain, is now suddenly becoming a Test cricketer again. So we could have him for maybe one or two games.”
ECB had earlier confirmed that the Test players would be able to take part in the first two matches for their sides in The Hundred before entering the latest bio-bubble on July 31.
The big news from the squad announcement also sees pacers Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes missing out on the first two Tests. Both pace bowlers are still recuperating from their respective injuries and are expected to not be available for the first few matches of England’s World Test Championship cycle.
Archer had an elbow operation earlier this year and he had also missed the IPL as a result. He continues to recover while Woakes is nursing a heel injury.
England will not be short on quality in the pace-bowling department though. Long-time servants James Anderson and Stuart Broad will be aided by Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, and Sam Curran.
The England team will also be buoyed by the return of star all-rounder Ben Stokes. Stokes had sustained a finger injury during the early part of IPL 2021 and had to spend months on the sidelines. However, he has proved his fitness in the latest T20 Blast matches and had also led England during the ODI series against Pakistan which they ended up winning 3-0.