Hussain in favour of under-fire Bairstow

England

Former captain Nasser Hussain has insisted batsman Jonny Bairstow be chosen for the remainder of the Ashes, despite a reasonably poor stretch of form.

Former captain Nasser Hussain has insisted batsman Jonny Bairstow be chosen for the remainder of the Ashes, despite a reasonably poor stretch of form.

While the in-form Ian Bell has scored two centuries and middle-order talisman Kevin Pietersen and opener Joe Root one each, the right-handed Bairstow has managed just 161 runs in five innings.

The talented James Taylor and uncapped Gary Ballance, meanwhile, are on the periphery of selection – after consistently impressing at county level. Neither have been named in the squad for the fourth Test, though, affording Bairstow another opportunity to set himself apart.

"As I've said before, I believe Bairstow has a technical issue but the good thing about him is that he hits boundaries. It's almost as if he wants to get as many runs as possible before the bowlers get him," Hussain wrote in the <i>Daily Mail</i>.

"I would give Bairstow the whole of this series before England make a decision on him because he remains a batsman of considerable potential. It's not as if he hasn't got any runs at all in this series."

Seamer Graham Onions has been recalled to the 13-man squad ahead of Friday's start at Chester-le-Street, gaining favour ahead of the sidelined Steven Finn and all-rounder Chris Woakes. Whether or not he will feature in the playing XI, though, remains in the balance.

"Onions has been among the wickets for Durham and I would like to get him in on his homeground but the problem is I can't think of how they could do it. Only if someone is exhausted or carrying a niggle should they be left out otherwise England should be unchanged," added Hussain.

Erstwhile batsman Mark Ramprakash, meanwhile, has lauded the hosts – after Monday's rain-affected draw in Manchester, alongside success at Trent Bridge and Lord's in July, saw the coveted Ashes title retained.

"England have fully deserved it. It's a testament to the manager Andy Flower, the backroom staff and the players. The fact they've retained it within three games is pretty outstanding stuff," Ramprakash told <i>talkSPORT</i>.

"It's not necessarily in the manner they wanted with the rain coming down and Australia outplaying them in this particular match, but it was still an outstanding effort from the guys."

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