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England v Sri Lanka

The candidates who could replace Jonny Bairstow in England’s T20I squad

Yas Rana by Yas Rana
@Yas_Wisden 2 minute read

Jonny Bairstow is a doubt for England’s upcoming T20I series against Sri Lanka having injured his ankle during his extraordinary hundred for Yorkshire in the T20 Blast.

Here’s a quick look at the options England have to replace him:

Phil Salt

The most likely replacement. Salt, 24, has been part of an England squad before but is yet to make his debut. One of the most consistent run-scorers in the T20 Blast over recent years, Salt – who has played in the Big Bash, Pakistan Super League, and Caribbean Premier League – boasts an impressive career strike-rate of over 150.

He’s started the 2021 T20 Blast in fine form, too. At the time of writing, he has scored 162 runs from three innings at a strike-rate of 154.

Joe Clarke

Regularly dubbed the ‘best uncapped batsman in England’, in ordinary circumstances Clarke’s recent contributions in T20 cricket would all but guarantee selection. He’s responsible for the highest individual score of this year’s T20 Blast and was an essential part of Notts’ Blast winning side last year.

But, like his teammate Alex Hales, on-field excellence might not result in England call-ups that would otherwise be merited due to off-field events. Clarke is set to face trial an account of an affray charge next month and while he remains available for Notts, it is possible that England, after a month marred by off-field controversy, opt against giving Clarke a maiden England call-up.

Will Jacks

Though still 22, Jacks has long been tipped for the top. A clean ball-striker who bowls more than serviceable off-breaks, Jacks’ white-ball game has reached another level in the past 12 months. One of the players of the 2020 Blast, Jacks has started the 2021 tournament in a similar vein.

In the London Derby at Lord’s, Jacks briefly threatened Andrew Symonds’ longstanding record for the fastest Blast hundred and against Sussex at The Oval, he blasted 26 runs off just five Tymal Mills deliveries.

His improving off-spin would give England another bowling option, too.

Joe Root

You know the story. England’s leading run-scorer in the 2016 World T20 as England came within touching distance of a second global T20 title and now out of the squad that’s looking to go one better five years on in the same country.

Root averaged just under 70 in last year’s Blast and although he wouldn’t be a like-for-like replacement for Bairstow, Silverwood might look to reintroduce his Test skipper to the T20 fold after Dawid Malan’s indifferent series in India and lacklustre start to the 2021 Blast.

Tom Banton

The player on this list who most recently played T20I cricket for England. Banton has endured a tricky time of it of late, recently disclosing that various spells in quarantine tipped him “over the edge.” He’s yet to register a score of note in this year’s Blast but he remains an immensely talented opener, as evidenced by his blistering half-century against Pakistan at the back-end of the 2020 summer.

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