New England head coach Chris Silverwood opens door to quick Test return for Jonny Bairstow
Chris Silverwood, the new England head coach, has opened the door for Jonny Bairstow to make a quick return to the Test side.
Silverwood believes Bairstow has every chance of being selected for the tour to South Africa in December despite being left out of the Test team to play in New Zealand next month.
Bairstow has little time to prove himself - just five T20s in New Zealand before the squad for the South Africa tour is announced.
Bairstow has been reassured by Ed Smith, the national selector, he remains a part of England’s plans in Test cricket but his absence in New Zealand allows others to establish a role in the side with Jos Buttler reverting to first-choice wicketkeeper for the first time in four years and young batsman Ollie Pope set for a run in the middle order.
“As it stands at the moment, it’s got to be Jos Buttler (as No 1 wicketkeeper) because he’s coming out with us. But equally I don’t want to rule anybody out of that either. Jonny’s a fine player. Potentially, yes (he could be picked for South Africa). It’s obviously something that myself, Joe [Root], the selectors and everybody have got to talk about. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to talking about South Africa but, yes, I can’t see why he couldn’t come back into the frame.”
Silverwood confirmed there will be discussions over the role of selectors on tour with the coach and captain usually having total control. This was muddied under Trevor Bayliss with Smith, and fellow selector James Taylor, exerting more influence overseas last winter, but Silverwood appears keen to put the coach and captain back in total charge of decision making.
It was confirmed on Saturday that former England coach Andy Flower has left the ECB after 12 years. Flower has been in charge of the Lions since stepping down as England coach in 2014. He is understood to be in contention to be new head coach of the Rajasthan Royals.