Bayliss hints at wicketkeeping shake-up


England coach Trevor Bayliss has not ruled out the possibility of wicketkeeper Jos Buttler returning to the Test side to face Pakistan next month, while still retaining Jonny Bairstow as a pure batsman.

Bairstow had a superb series against Sri Lanka with the bat, scoring two of his three Test centuries, but his efforts behind the stumps were average at best, dropping the most regulation of deliveries, even without bat involved.

As such, there have been calls to reinstate Buttler, who had been dropped for Bairstow last year due to poor form, as the 'keeper, and use the Yorkshireman as a batsman only. Bayliss admits he is considering this.

The Australian said, while also mentioning Surrey's Ben Foakes and Kent's Sam Billings: "I am a little bit old school. I think the best wicketkeeper should be the wicketkeeper.

"Our wicketkeepers – and there are three of them if you include Sam Billings – are young and inexperienced, I suppose. They are probably batters who are wicketkeepers.

"I've said to all three of them that I believe the wicketkeeper in the team should be the best we have. Basically just to make sure they continue to work hard. Jonny, Jos and Sam certainly have stepped it up with the practice.

"Personally I believe it is a wicketkeeping position. Ben Foakes is one name that has been mentioned, along with two or three others.

"From the selectors' point of view, it is something we are going to have to work through and think pretty carefully about."

Buttler will have a chance to shine during the upcoming five-match ODI series, and Bayliss will be keeping a close eye on him: "Jos will be the wicketkeeper for the limited-overs games.

"He has been in the last few white-ball series. Runs could put him back in the frame for the Test side, but the selectors would like to see him score runs in the four-day game to show us he's back in form.

"We know the devastating player he can be. It's a bit unfortunate we don't have any games for another couple of weeks, but he will get his opportunity I'm sure."

England's series against Pakistan starts on 14 July, with the first Test at Lord's.