Former England head coach David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd has suggested that Yorkshire wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow could be trialled as a Test opener.
The red-haired right-hander hasn’t played a Test in 2020 after enduring an extended barren period with the bat in 2019. While his explosive white-ball form was one of the main drivers in England’s 2019 World Cup triumph, he averaged just 18.55 in 19 Test innings that year.
However, Bairstow’s talent has never been in doubt, particularly with his ODI and T20I exploits continuing at pace. In 2016, he made three hundreds and averaged 58.80 in Tests. And with England’s middle-order spots becoming increasingly nailed down, Lloyd suggested Bairstow could be trialled as an opener alongside Zak Crawley, with uncapped Essex batsman Dan Lawrence at No.3.
“I hope so,” Lloyd told SportsMail when asked whether Bairstow will play Tests again. “We experimented with Jason Roy as a Test opener, why not Bairstow? He opens in one-day cricket and he’s got six Test hundreds! You want a radical change? Bairstow to open with Crawley and Lawrence at three.”
Bairstow has rarely batted above No.5 for England in Tests, with only eight of his 123 innings coming at No.3 and No.4. Roy struggled as an opener, averaging 8.85 in that position against Ireland and Australia, and incumbent England openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley have given their side some much needed top-order stability, but former England captain Nasser Hussain agreed that Bairstow might not be done as a Test player yet.
“He’s too good a player to write off either as a batsman or batsman-keeper,” Hussain said. “The cupboard isn’t that full with batsmen so if he gets a shedload of runs there will be another opportunity for him.”