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England v Pakistan

Nasser Hussain explains why dropping Bairstow for Buttler was hasty

England dropped Jonny Bairstow for Jos Buttler.
by Wisden Staff 2-minute read

Nasser Hussain believes the decision to drop Jonny Bairstow from the Test team last year was a harsh one and has cautioned England against doing the same with Jos Buttler.

Bairstow was the designated gloveman for the 2019 Ashes, which followed the World Cup, but managed only one 50+ score in 10 innings. Playing as a batsman, he made 1 and 9 in the first Test of England’s tour of South Africa, after which he was dropped.

Buttler, who took over as wicketkeeper from Bairstow, has struggled with the bat, too; a half-century in the third Test against West Indies was his first in 15 innings.

His performance behind the stumps has put his place under scrutiny again. On day two of the first England v Pakistan Test, he dropped Shan Masood and fumbled a stumping chance during the opener’s 156-run knock, before dropping Yasir Shah later in the day.

Hussain, though, doesn’t want England to take a hasty decision with Buttler, as they did with Bairstow.

“The problem for today’s keeper-batsman is that he has to do both jobs well,” the former England captain wrote in his column for the Daily Mail. “It’s not the same for an all-rounder such as Ben Stokes, who can go through a lean spell taking wickets if he is scoring plenty of runs.

“That’s why it was harsh of England to drop Jonny Bairstow to give the job to Buttler last year because his glovework at the time was excellent. And we also knew there was plenty of potential in Bairstow’s batting for him to come through his rough patch.

“I thought England should have stuck with Bairstow because I didn’t see how Buttler was either a better keeper or a better batsman. But now they have to be absolutely sure they are doing the right thing if they do drop Buttler.

“I admire his determination to crack Test cricket. He could have taken the easier option of walking off into a white-ball sunset and playing more franchise cricket, while being an important member of Eoin Morgan’s limited-overs sides.

“I applaud him because it shows the character in the bloke, but bad days like yesterday will not satisfy the doubters nor ease the doubts in Buttler’s mind.”

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