I am desperate to keep wickets, says Bairstow
Southampton, Aug 28 (PTI) England's Jonny Bairstow has said that he has a good chance to play in the fourth Test against India at Southampton despite a fracture in the left middle finger.
He stressed that while he has recovered sufficiently to play as a specialist batsman, he is desperate to keep wicket as well, for that's when he is at his best.
"The finger feels good. Obviously we'll know more later on today but the swelling has gone down and it's a lot better than I thought it was going to be. I wasn't able to put my hand in my pocket a few days ago that's absolutely fine now," Bairstow said today.
"I'm going to try and keep wicket this afternoon as well. I want to play so if I'm not able to keep wicket I'd like to think I could play as a specialist batsman. At the same time I'm still desperate to try to keep my place as the keeper.
"If you look at the stats they suggest I'm better if I keep wicket as well. I don't know why."
When asked if he would give up keeping, both in the short or long term, for England's benefit, Bairstow replied, "I don't know what the conversations are that are going to be had but it's a difficult one because you put so much hard work into keeping wicket over a long sustained period of time.
"It would be like saying do you want to give up your laptop and write everything free hand again."
England lead the five-match series 2-1. They won at Edgbaston and Lord's but India fought back at Trent Bridge.
"There were a lot of questions asked in my early career as a keeper. I remember being asked time and again whether I want to do it and for the last couple of years I don't think my keeping has been questioned once."
He added that playing as a specialist batsman, he wouldn't like to bat higher than his current position of number five.
A green-top wicket is expected for this match with concerns over both Chris Woakes (right quadriceps) and Ben Stokes (left knee).
"In the last Test played here (in 2014) we had a comprehensive win so we'll turn up fully confident and excited after a few days off. We're raring to go."
"It might not harm us not to put in our best performance halfway through the series because it makes us want to come back and put the record straight," Bairstow said.
There are concerns over the top-order's form and questions have been asked of Alastair Cook, but like others before him, Bairstow too defended the senior batsman.
"Every time he is criticised, he goes out and gets a double hundred that's absolutely fine. There have been murmurs and whispers about it but like I keep saying he's the leading run-scorer in England's history for a reason.
"There's no question about when he's going to score runs - that is going to happen. Look you're going to come up against bowling attacks on some favourable conditions. But that happens, that's cricket