x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

England Test debutant Bairstow must get a long rope

Bairstow has started early in following his father, David, who played four Tests for England. He should have doubled the family haul of Test caps by the time the summer is out.

Jonathan Bairstow did not get to do much in the first four days of the first Test.
Jonathan Bairstow did not get to do much in the first four days of the first Test.

He could still have a vital contribution to make to the victory push today, but there is still a chance Jonathan Bairstow could leave Lord’s a little underwhelmed by his Test match debut.

It has been far from a shabby opening gambit in the white of England. He made a perky 16 in his first Test innings, and his brilliant direct-hit run out of Kirk Edwards in West Indies’ second innings was not bad for a wicketkeeper.

However, he has a habit of making eye-catching starts, and this has been some way short of his pyrotechnic effort against India last summer in his first one-day international.

The No 6 place in the England line-up is not his yet. The world’s No 1 Test side are not short of options beyond their established top five.

Bopara only missed this game because of injury. Eoin Morgan has shown enough in his Test career to date to believe his absence after his winter toil in the UAE should not be a permanent one. And James Taylor made a strong case with a ton for England’s second string against West Indies.

However, England’s selectors should stick with Bairstow because he is a player of rare talent.

England already have one son of a famous father doing great things in their line up – Stuart Broad. After his seven wicket haul, Broad is now on both the batting and bowling honour’s boards at Lord’s. Father Chris missed out on both.

Bairstow has started early in following his father, David, who played four Tests for England. He should have doubled the family haul of Test caps by the time the summer is out.

pradley@thenational.ae

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