Injury worries prevail for Jonny Bairstow: the twisted ankle he sustained during the white-ball series against Sri Lanka is a cause for concern going into the test series.
The wicketkeeeper-batsmen picked up the injury whilst playing football, which has become a pivotal part of this new generation England team’s warm up rituals. The injury was severe enough to halt his involvement in the remainder of the ODI series and the one-off T2OI. Now he could potentially be taken out of the squad for the first test in Sri Lanka, starting in Gaulle on 6 November.
England Captain Joe Root spoke about the injury seemingly positive about Bairstow’s road to recovery but less optimistic about his selection for the first test:
“It’s day-by-day with Jonny at the minute. He’s actually made good strides and recovered a little bit quicker than we anticipated, but it’s still a long way to go’’.
It’s without a doubt that the injury is a big loss to England’s test squad for the first test. Bairstow has been one of the most dependable batsmen in the side of late. However, with Root saying, “Jonny would be a big loss but we’ve got some great players that can come in and rebalance the team”, England will not be too worried as they have the world-class talent of Jos Buttler ready in the wings to take the gloves. There has also been the call up of Ben Foakes, Surrey wicketkeeper-batsmen, to the squad. Foakes is arriving this weekend and will be ready to go if Bairstoew has not recovered and if England feel Buttler is not the right choice.
“Jos to keep is probably the likely scenario but the reason we called Ben up is he’s a high quality wicketkeeper and gives us another way balance the side up. It’s a nice position to be in having that’’ said Root.
The injury itself sparked controversy over whether football should still be part of the warm up. Fans questioned its benefits to the team, asking if it actually hinders the team as it provides an opportunity for injury and subsequently losing crucial players. However, various team members have praised the reappearance of the football warm up after it was banned by Andy Flower in 2009. Overall, the overriding thoughts regarding football are positive, with it bringing the team together and getting camaraderie up in the England camp.
England will be hoping that whoever takes the gloves in the first test match will be able to fill Bairstow’s shoes and help England towards a wins before searching for a test series win overseas.