Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 May 2019

England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow determined to push claims for Test recall

Bairstow has had to watch from sidelines after initially being ruled out with ankle injury then overlooked after Ben Foakes' flawless debut

It is admittedly odd to have Jonny Bairstow in this list, especially because he had a decent year. The England wicketkeeper-batsman is still ranked in the top 20 in Tests and one-day internationals. He hit two hundreds and as many fifties over 20 Test innings in 2018. He also scored four of his six ODI hundreds this year. But it was nonetheless a troubled 2018 for him, getting injured during the home Test series against India and then losing his spot in the side to the up-and-coming Ben Foakes, who cashed in with a hundred in his first match in Sri Lanka. The fact that Jos Buttler is also in the XI - albeit playing purely as a batsman - helps England immensely, as it gives the management options, but may not do Bairstow any favours. But rest assured he will be fighting hard to regain his place in 2019. Reuters
It is admittedly odd to have Jonny Bairstowย in this list, especially because he had a decent year. The England wicketkeeper-batsman is still ranked in the top 20 in Tests and one-day internationals. He hit two hundreds and as many fifties over 20 Test innings in 2018. He also scored four of his six ODI hundreds this year. But it was nonetheless a troubled 2018 for him, getting injured during the home Test series against India and then losing his spot in the side to the up-and-coming Ben Foakes, who cashed in with a hundred in his first match in Sri Lanka. The fact that Jos Buttler is also in the XI - albeit playing purely as a batsman - helps England immensely, as it gives the management options, but may not do Bairstow any favours. But rest assured he will be fighting hard to regain his place in 2019. Reuters

Jonny Bairstow intends to give the England selectors a dilemma as he eyes a recall in the final Test against Sri Lanka.

Wicketkeeper Bairstow has had to watch from the sidelines as his teammates clinched series-winning victories in Galle and Kandy, initially ruled out with an ankle injury then overlooked after Ben Foakes' flawless debut.

Having arrived on tour as undisputed first choice the 29 year old is suddenly wondering how he will break back into the XI, with Foakes emphatically taking his chance with the gloves.

Bairstow has more than enough pedigree to push for a place as a specialist batsman and plans to press his claims in the build-up to the third Test in Colombo.

"Look, selection is above my pay grade and that's why you want to be giving other people headaches with that," he told talkSPORT.

"I'm training hard, hitting the ball nicely in the nets and I'd like to think people know that in the background I'll be pushing as hard as possible to be playing this week.

"I've worked hard and had that spot for two-and-a-half years, so to do that - keep wicket, bat at five, six or seven in all different conditions I'm very proud of that."

England may be forced into one change if Sam Curran's side strain does not clear up over the coming days.

The players were granted a day off on Tuesday and the all-rounder will be assessed again ahead of Wednesday's training session.

England move up one in rankings

England will move up to second in the International Cricket Council's Test rankings after assuring a series victory in Sri Lanka.

Joe Root's side recorded their first Test series win in Sri Lanka for 17 years when they followed up their 211-run triumph in Galle with a 57-run victory in Kandy over the weekend.

That gave them an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series and means they will push South Africa down to third in the rankings regardless of the result in the third and final Test in Colombo.

Should England complete a series whitewash, they will improve to 108 points, eight behind top-ranked India.

A draw will put them on 107 points and a loss would see them tied with South Africa on 106 but ahead by a fraction of a point.

The new rankings will be updated following the conclusion of the Test.

India captain Virat Kohli heads the batting rankings, ahead of Australia's Steve Smith, Kane Williamson of New Zealand and Root.

England veteran James Anderson leads the bowlers, while spinner Jack Leach is up to 43rd after claiming 13 wickets in four innings against Sri Lanka.

Updated: November 20, 2018 01:55 PM

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