Nasser Hussain full of praise for Alex Hales and Jonny Bairstow after Sri Lanka series
Former England skipper and popular cricket commentator Nasser Hussain had words of high praise for the English duo of Alex Hales and Jonny Bairstow after the hosts completed a 2-0 series victory in the three-match Test series against Sri Lanka. While Hussain rated Hales as “the find of the series”, he also singled out Bairstow’s achievements claiming that the wicketkeeper-batsman had proved that he was becoming a mature batsman who could shine in the toughest of circumstances.
The final day of the third and final Test at Lord’s was virtually washed out by rain denying England the opportunity of a whitewash, but Hussain was more than happy with the way Alastair Cook’s men played throughout the series.
Hales and Bairstow stood out for England with the former notching up scores of 86 at Headingley, 83 in Durham and 94 at Lord’s. Though the opener has been in fantastic touch in the T20 format, his previous Test series outing against South Africa away proved a major letdown as he managed only 136 runs at an average of 17 over four Tests.
Hussain expressed confidence that Hales recent scores should put an end to the debate whether the 27-year-old is suited for the longest format of the game.
"Hales is the find of the series," Hussain told Sky Sports. "There were questions after South Africa of whether he could do it in an England shirt and while he may not have got a hundred he has proved he is a Test player.”
Hussain also claimed that though the English public at large were confident in Bairstow’s abilities, the wicketkeeper batsman’s achievements over the past two tours has surpassed the expectations. After shining against South Africa, which included an unbeaten innings of 150 at Cape Town, Bairstow scored two more centuries against Sri Lanka to claim the ‘Man of the Series’ award.
"We had a feeling Bairstow was maturing but he proved he is a serious player who didn't just have a one-off series in South Africa,” Hussain said about Bairstow. "I think that not only is he very talented but that he is also quite strong mentally and determined to improve and prove people wrong."
Hussain calls for Nick Crompton’s ouster
One batsman whom Hussain was not at all impressed with was Middlesex’s Nick Crompton who could score only 51 runs at a paltry average of 12.75.
"Compton seems to implode when things don't quite go his way, so England will be looking for someone in that pivotal No 3 position," said Hussain, who believes the national selectors will now look at Scott Borthwick or James Vince as possible replacements for the upcoming Test series against Pakistan.
"The selectors will be looking at historical averages, who players are getting their runs against, where they are getting them, and how important the runs are,” Hussain said.
"I feel Borthwick will come in - the only way James Vince might go up there is if they bring in Jos Buttler as wicketkeeper and play Bairstow as a batsman."