London: After fracturing a finger in the third Test against India, England
wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow has been cleared to play in the fourth, though whether
that will be as a specialist batsman or not is yet to be decided.
Jos Buttler donned the gloves in the third Test after Bairstow was forced to
leave the field when a ball caught him painfully and fractured his finger. Although he
will feature at least as a specialist batsman, retaining his role as wicket-keeper is high
on the Yorkshireman's list of priorities, an ICC report on Tuesday said.
"The finger feels good, the swelling has gone down, and it is a lot better than I thought
it was going to be. I am going to try and keep wicket in training," he said ahead of
Thursday's bout in Southampton.
"You obviously want to play so, if I am not able to keep wicket, then I'd like to think
I would play as a specialist batsman," Bairstow said. "But at the same time, I am desperate to try and keep my place as the keeper," he
When the idea was proposed to him that he might flourish more with the bat without the added responsibility of keeping wicket, Bairstow was keen to dispel such a notion. "I think that is quite a bold statement," he remarked.
"If you look, my stats are better when I am keeping wicket as well, so you are entering
uncharted territories when you make bold statements like that, Bairstow said."I am very keen to keep my spot as keeper, because I like to think it has gone well over the last 38, 39 Test matches," he said.
The last Test match to be played at the Hampshire Bowl in Southampton was in 2014,
this feat, India are full of confidence after their impressive win at Trent Bridge brought the
series back to 2-1 with two matches still to play.
"It is going to be a great contest," said Bairstow."Obviously we are 2-1 up in the series, but India played well in that last game. In the last Test match that was played here, it was a comprehensive win, so we will turn up excited
and raring to go," Bairstow said.
"We are full of confidence still. There is no harm in halfway through a series not necessarily
putting in our strongest performance, because it makes you come back and want to put the
record straight," he added.(UNI)