Keep Jonny where he is

Daily Mail - - England V South Africa First Test - DAILY DOSSIER

Jonny Bairstow has be­come such a good bats­man there has been talk of Eng­land mov­ing him up to no 4 and bring­ing in ei­ther Jos Buttler or Ben Foakes to keep wicket, but i would leave things ex­actly as they are.

there might have been a case for that a year ago but, like alec ste­wart and Matt Prior be­fore him, Bairstow’s keep­ing has come on in leaps and bounds to the point where he has be­come an ex­cel­lent glove­man now.

Eng­land are spoilt in hav­ing so many fine bats­man-keep­ers but why bring in a sec­ond keeper when Bairstow (right) is do­ing the job so well. He has shown that again in this test with his sharp catch off Kag­iso rabada stand­ing up and then yes­ter­day when he took an equally good div­ing catch to his left to send back Heino Kuhn.

if you took the gloves away from Jonny you might even de­tract from his bat­ting be­cause it can change the mind­set of a player to go from an all­rounder to a spe­cial­ist bats­man. He has to take ex­tra re­spon­si­bil­ity when solely a bats­man.

Bairstow is al­ways full of en­ergy, too, from the moment he turns up for a game. He doesn’t strike me as some­one who will tire eas­ily if you put too much on his plate. i don’t worry about his work­load.

He loves be­ing cen­tre stage, might get bored if he wasn’t and the dif­fer­ence in Jonny since the time we first saw him as an Eng­land crick­eter to now has been huge. He has be­come an ex­cep­tional in­ter­na­tional all-rounder. it goes back to some­thing Dun­can Fletcher would al­ways say. He reck­oned you couldn’t make a test bats­man out of an out-and-out keeper but you could turn a bats­man into a test keeper with the right amount of work and drive. that was an­other ex­am­ple yes­ter­day of Bairstow find­ing the right tempo to an in­nings ev­ery time. He may have had a bit of luck when he was dropped on seven by Ver­non Phi­lan­der but that lit­tle burst af­ter­wards gave Eng­land the mo­men­tum. you could ar­gue about the per­son­nel but Eng­land have been proved ab­so­lutely right in pick­ing two spin­ners for a Lord’s test for the first time since 1993. they read con­di­tions very well and the bal­ance has been spot on. there is, of course, still room for im­prove­ment and the scor­ing rate on satur­day evening, when Phi­lan­der wasn’t on the field and con­di­tions could only get tougher, was not high enough at two an over. Eng­land plod­ded along, but it is very dif­fi­cult to ar­gue with this win at the start of the Joe root reign.

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