Yes it’s that time again, before any tour an England fan loves nothing more than sitting around and complaining about the selection policy. It’s as quintessentially British as starting a conversation by talking about the weather or holding a door open for an uncomfortably long amount of time.
I genuinely feel that if England had the greatest eleven players ever to play test cricket resulting in zero issues over selection the English cricketing public would be disappointed.
So with that in mind looking ahead to Sri Lanka the selectors appear to be pondering a back to the future type selection with replacing the struggling Joe Denly with Jonny Bairstow at three. Hmmm you’re probably thinking have we not been down this road before? Well the answer is of course yes as it was only last winter we tried this and in the end it didn’t work out.
Bairstow was dropped after the summer due to his his test career being on the slide and he was told by chief selector Ed Smith to recalibrate his game. The Yorkshire man had a severe technical issue which has led to him being bowled 33 (28.4%) times in his career. To put that into context Jos Buttler who some people may rightly say isn’t a test match player has a percentage of being bowled at 17.9%.
I’m not sure in the six months that Bairstow has been out the team (discounting Centurion) he has had the time to really make a significant difference to his game, let alone transform himself into a proper test match number three. England had been making great strides in South Africa when it came to their top order with batsmen taking their time and constructing proper foundations to the England innings.
I’m not entirely sure it’s particularly fair to do this to Bairstow at this stage of his career as another lean spell with the bat might signal the end of his test career as not many players get the opportunity to come back for a third time. We shouldn’t be forcing players into uncomfortable positions because their natural one isn’t available, do you think Gilchrist would have been moved up to three had Ponting been injured?
Pope is likely sooner rather than later going to move up the order which would vacate the much more natural home for Bairstow at six. Plus what happens when Burns is fit in the English summer? A more thought out approach would be to give Denly the spot in Sri Lanka and if that still isn’t working by June then have a top three of Burns, Sibley and Crawley.
I’m not saying Bairstow can’t come back into the team; in fact I want him back sometime in the next twelve months but please, let’s put him in the right place. Now isn’t the weather awful this time of year.
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