Door not closed on England Test squad for Bairstow, says Smith

By Liam Blackburn 5 July 2020 3
Door not closed on England Test squad for Bairstow, says Smith

Jonny Bairstow may not be part of England's Test squad to face West Indies next week, but national selector Ed Smith insisted the wicketkeeper-batsman remains in his plans.

England have named their 13-man group for next week's first Test against the Windies at Southampton, and there was no place for Bairstow or all-rounder Moeen Ali.

Bairstow has not played for England since making a combined 10 in his two innings of the first Test against South Africa in December, and the 30-year-old averaged only 18.55 in 10 Tests in 2019.

Jos Buttler and Ben Foakes are ahead of Bairstow in the Test pecking order, but the Yorkshireman is still a key figure for the limited-overs teams and Smith has not discounted a red-ball return in the future.

"No one doubts he is a very good cricketer across all formats and no doors are closed for him," Smith told reporters.

"We are fully aware of what he can do in Test cricket. But it is also the case that we are where we were before coronavirus caused a suspension - Jos Buttler is the man in possession and Ben Foakes was the deputy on that tour to Sri Lanka.

"I wouldn't make any presumptions in terms of anything being blocked for Jonny. There is a wide understanding of how good he is at his best.

"He is a very talented player and has played some very fine innings for England across the formats. That is not going to be forgotten.

"Jonny has had an exceptional spell of form in white-ball cricket and there is cricket to be played there, so it seemed the best arrangement for Jonny to move across to the white-ball bubble.

"With Moeen and Jonny, part of the calculation is that they have been very good performers in white-ball cricket."

Moeen's absence from the Test team stretches back to the Ashes last year as he withdrew from consideration for England's tours to New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

Though he will not be involved in Southampton next week, Smith is pleased he has made himself available for Test selection again.

"We are very glad Moeen is available - he is a trusted and valued cricketer and his availability is good news for the spin department," Smith added.

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