England considering taking the gloves off Jonny Bairstow for two-Test tour to New Zealand in hope he can rediscover his batting form
England must on Monday tackle the ticklish question of whether to take the wicketkeeping gloves he so cherishes away from Jonny Bairstow when they pick their strongest squad for the two-Test tour to New Zealand.
Bairstow's form, which has seen him average just 18 in seven Tests since reclaiming the gloves from Ben Foakes in February, is the selectors biggest concern.
And they are considering asking Bairstow to concentrate solely on his batting and either giving the gloves back to Foakes despite his modest season with Surrey or asking white-ball keeper Jos Butter to assume Test duties now his batting is back on track.
England's selectors are considering asking Jonny Bairstow to concentrate solely on his batting
Archer, Bairstow, Broad, Burns, Buttler (wkt), Crane, S Curran, Denly, Foakes (wkt), Leach, Mahmood, Pope, Root (capt), Stokes, Sibley, Woakes
It is a delicate one for England as Bairstow could prove a reluctant specialist batsman in New Zealand but there is a feeling among the panel that his desperation to have an all-round Test role has been too indulged this summer.
One player sure to be selected is Warwickshire opener Dominic Sibley who earns his chance through sheer weight or runs despite concerns over his technique. Sibley looks certain to travel at the expense of Jason Roy, with Ollie Pope also given his chance.
Jimmy Anderson, Mark Wood and Olly Stone are all expected to be ruled out by injury while the selectors must decide whether to take a second spinner in the self-enforced absence of Moeen Ali. Dom Bess, Mason Crane and Matt Parkinson are candidates to join Jack Leach.
Bairstow has averaged just 18 in seven Tests since reclaiming the gloves from Ben Foakes
England, as first revealed by Sportsmail, have gone back on their original thinking of resting senior players for the two Tests as they begin a new cycle culminating with the next Ashes in two years time.
Instead the likes of Root, Buttler and Ben Stokes will miss the five-match Twenty20 series in New Zealand as England give opportunities to prospects like Somerset's Tom Banton and Lancashire's Saqib Mahmood.
It will also on Monday be confirmed that Eoin Morgan will carry on as white-ball captain, probably for the next two Twenty20 World Cups that take place next year and in 2021.