Bairstow Stays Wicketkeeper: England Squad Unchanged
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Bairstow Retained Despite Struggles
England has decided to retain Jonny Bairstow as their wicketkeeper-batsman, keeping an unchanged squad for the fourth Ashes Test at Emirates Old Trafford. Despite facing criticism for his recent performances, Bairstow will continue behind the stumps for England. Although England’s victory at Headingley narrowed the series gap to 2-1, Bairstow had a challenging game, scoring only 12 and 5 runs while also missing crucial catches. In contrast to his impressive form last summer, where he averaged 75.66 with 681 runs, Bairstow’s current series average is 23.50 from six innings.
Foakes' Recall Amid Bairstow's Woes?
Bairstow’s struggles as a wicketkeeper have sparked discussions about a potential recall for Ben Foakes, whom Bairstow had replaced after recovering from a serious left leg injury that kept him sidelined for eight months. Bairstow has missed several opportunities behind the stumps throughout the series, including a missed stumping chance that could have had a significant impact on England’s fortunes in the first two Tests.
Bairstow: Protests, Controversial Stumping
Despite these challenges, Bairstow’s contributions off the field have garnered attention. Notably, he helped remove a Just Stop Oil protester during the second Test at Lord’s and found himself in the midst of controversy when he was stumped by Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey after mistakenly leaving his crease, thinking the over had ended.
Bairstow Backed for Test
In light of Bairstow’s selection, England will hope for an improved performance from him in the upcoming Test as they aim to level the Ashes series. Bairstow Receives Backing from Stokes and McCullum as England Decide to Stick with Him The decision to retain Jonny Bairstow in the 14-man squad for the fourth Test and not recall Ben Foakes is a clear display of support from captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum. Despite recent struggles, Bairstow still has the backing of the team, thanks to his influential performances that sparked England’s resurgence last summer. There is confidence that he can make a significant impact in the upcoming Test and help England level the series.
Anderson Backs Bairstow's Potential
In his column for The Telegraph, James Anderson emphasized Bairstow’s commitment and desire to contribute to the team. He called for patience from everyone and highlighted Bairstow’s relentless work ethic. Anderson expressed that even a couple of well-timed shots or a spectacular one-handed catch can elevate Bairstow’s confidence and unleash his devastating potential. The team stands united in supporting him and is determined to boost his spirits.
England Backs Bairstow's Resilience
Bairstow’s track record and the belief in his abilities have earned him the continued faith of his teammates. They will provide him with all the assistance necessary to keep him motivated and remind him of his true capabilities. With the fourth Test just eight days away, England remains hopeful that Bairstow’s resilience and determination will shine through, enabling him to play a crucial role in helping the team level the series.
Robinson's Fitness, Anderson Returns?
In addition to the decision regarding Jonny Bairstow, England will also need to assess Ollie Robinson’s fitness as he deals with a back spasm suffered during Australia’s first innings. It is likely that Robinson will make way for James Anderson, who was rested for the previous Test. Another factor to consider is whether Mark Wood will be fully recovered and capable of retaining his spot in the playing XI, given his exceptional performance in the third Test and the workload he endured in his first red-ball match of 2023.
Brook's No. 3 Position Debate
The No. 3 position is also up for discussion. Both Harry Brook and Moeen Ali had limited success in fulfilling the role at Headingley. However, Brook’s crucial innings of 75 in the fourth innings chase of 251 might earn him a chance to continue batting higher up the order, possibly at his preferred position, while Moeen retains the role at No. 3.
Stokes Captains Ashes Squad
The England squad for the fourth Ashes Test includes Ben Stokes as captain, along with Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Dan Lawrence, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Josh Tongue, Chris Woakes, and Mark Wood.
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