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    England Stays Loyal for Bairstow
England Stays Loyal for Bairstow

England Stays Loyal for Bairstow

England is gearing up to support Jonny Bairstow in the upcoming fourth Test, urging him to unleash his natural "power game" to break free from a series of low scores in India.

Bairstow's lacklustre start to the tour culminated in a mere four runs off seven balls, including a record eighth duck against India, during the crushing defeat in the third Test at Rajkot. This dismal performance has left him with an average of just 17 for the series, placing his struggle alongside that of Joe Root, who averages 12.8.

Image Source: Midjourney

England coach Brendon McCullum expressed that Bairstow's place in the side for the upcoming match in Ranchi remains uncertain until they assess the pitch conditions upon their arrival. McCullum, however, remains optimistic about Bairstow's potential, citing his history of fluctuating performances over his 98-Test career. Despite Bairstow's recent setbacks, he had previously played a pivotal role in England's aggressive resurgence under McCullum and Ben Stokes, exemplified by a commanding century against New Zealand at Trent Bridge.

McCullum acknowledged Bairstow's mild dismissals in India, noting that his attacking approach has not resulted in significant impact except for a sweep off Ravindra Jadeja. While the coach anticipates Bairstow's participation in the next Test, he emphasised the need to bolster Bairstow's confidence and focus on his strengths amidst external pressures and criticisms.

Amidst the unlikelihood of Harry Brook rejoining the squad due to personal reasons, Dan Lawrence emerges as an only alternative to Bairstow. Although Lawrence has yet to experience playing under McCullum's coaching, his standing within the team and spin-bowling capabilities make him a credible choice. However, England's commitment to loyalty in selection, a core tenet of the Bazball project, suggests that Bairstow retains their trust. McCullum, known for his adept man-management skills, aims to support Bairstow through his lean patch, employing a nurturing approach to guide him back to form.

The absence of India's premier fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah for the Ranchi Test presents a favourable opportunity for Bairstow and the rest of England's batting line-up. England also contemplates changes in their bowling line-up, with James Anderson and Mark Wood likely to be rested after strenuous performances in the previous Test. Ollie Robinson is poised for a potential return to the squad.

Image Source: Midjourney

Furthermore, Ben Stokes could potentially resume bowling post his knee surgery in November. However, McCullum emphasised the importance of assessing Stokes' readiness and preventing premature involvement to avoid any setbacks.

Despite England's recent disappointment and being outplayed in the third Test, McCullum affirmed their commitment to their attacking brand of cricket, which has yielded success under his coaching tenure. While acknowledging the frustration within the team, the coach expressed unwavering belief in their ability to bounce back and secure a series victory. He also highlighted the team's developmental progress since his appointment 18 months ago, indicating continuous improvement and a promising outlook for England's future performances.

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