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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Ben Stokes available for England selection but Jonny Bairstow not ready to step aside for anyone

All-rounder says he has worked hard to be where he is, and that he will fight for a position in the XI

Jonny Bairstow has missed more ODIs than he has played since making his debut in 2011. Jason McCawley / Getty Images
Jonny Bairstow has missed more ODIs than he has played since making his debut in 2011. Jason McCawley / Getty Images

Jonny Bairstow has no intention of becoming the sacrificial lamb of England's one-day international side, having finally found a role at the head of the innings.

The Yorkshire batsman has missed more 50-over games than he has played since making his international bow in September 2011, appearing in just 33 of England's 80 matches.

For much of that time he has been viewed as a dependable squad man, occasionally keeping wicket, batting at every position in the top six and often being asked to fill a spot at short notice.

Yet for the past seven matches he has found a steady role opening the innings, hitting two unbeaten centuries against the West Indies.

Somebody will have to make way when Ben Stokes returns to the side, as he is set to do in New Zealand next month following a decision by the England and Wales Cricket Board, and Jason Roy's record-breaking 180 at the MCG on Sunday makes him effectively untouchable.

Speaking ahead of Friday's second ODI at the Gabba, when England will look to build on their impressive victory in Melbourne and take a 2-0 lead, Bairstow made a strong case that he should not be the one to step aside either.

"I have worked [sic] to get to where I am, to fight for a position in the side," he said.

"I like to think every time I have come in, whether that be on a one-off game over the last two years when I have got man of the match or whether it be batting at four, six, keeping wicket or opening the batting. I hope I have come in and done well enough to keep my spot.

"I have been asked to open the batting in six games and I have scored two hundreds in those games. It is going to take a bit of time to completely know and understand [opening] but I have been really pleased with how I have started in the role."

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