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Have not spoken to anyone about wicket-keeping in India : Bairstow

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Last updated on 06 Jan 2024 | 04:39 AM
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Have not spoken to anyone about wicket-keeping in India : Bairstow

During Bairstow's unavailability due to a fractured leg, the regime led by Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes put their faith in Ben Foakes, who did well to hang in there

Jonny Bairstow had a difficult 2023 in terms of his fitness and at one moment, he seemed to be ruled out of the entire year. But things changed for him and he returned for the Ashes 2023, even scoring three fifty-plus scores, including an unbeaten 99. However, with Ben Foakes available, there is a great chance Bairstow may not get the opportunity to keep wickets in India - a place perennially difficult for overseas wicket-keepers. 

"I've not spoken to anyone about that. As long as I'm over there, as long as I'm fit and firing, the selection decisions will be taken out of my hands. But look, I'm fairly happy with where I'm at, whether I'm keeping, batting, or whatever it is,” Bairstow said in an interview with Sky Sports.

Bairstow suffered a fractured leg in a freak accident while playing golf in September 2022 and missed all of England's winter program till July 2023. During his unavailability, the regime led by Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes put their faith in Ben Foakes, who did well to hang in there. Foakes was dropped from the squad during the Ashes, in which Bairstow kept wickets. But Foakes' familiarity with Indian conditions, keeping wickets in the 2021 series, prompted the selectors to send a return call. 

"I've been getting my ankle right, just training in the gym pretty hard, catching up with friends and family," Bairstow said. "Having come back from the injury that I had, it was a pretty full-on summer… it's been great to just have a bit of a refresh, have a bit of time with the family and just to make sure the ankle is as good as it can be."

The 2021 England tour of India was a disaster for the home team. After having won the first Test in Chennai, the visitors had a meek surrender against the Indian unit - led by the spin troika of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Axar Patel. However, Bairstow believes that India wouldn’t make similar pitches in 2021 as it negates their advantage. 

"India can produce different pitches: it doesn't have to turn," he said. "We've seen how potent their seam attack has been recently. Look, I'm sure the pitches will turn: it's whether or not they'll turn from day one, which potentially negates a bit of their strength in their seam attack. We know how strong they are.

"There's been a lot of talk around Bazball and the probably majority of it has been from you guys [the media]. Look, it's a positive way of playing cricket. It's a way in which we're trying to entertain people that are watching. In India, we know the conditions are going to be slightly different… it'll be a case of, can we adapt quick enough and well enough to the conditions and play suitably?"

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