Keep Jonny where he is
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.