Jonny Bairstow says he is proud to be England's new No 5 in Test cricket ahead of Pakistan clash on Thursday
Bairstow is convinced he can keep the gloves in five-day cricket while Buttler does the job in the shorter forms of the game.
The flame-haired Yorkshireman has made no secret of his determination to stay as England’s Test stumper after years of working hard to improve his keeping. And the truth is that Bairstow is now the superior gloveman.
Bairstow bristles at the suggestion that he could hand over the gloves to Buttler or Surrey’s Ben Foakes and play as a specialist batsman.
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He will bat at No.5 in next week’s First Test against Pakistan at Lord’s while Buttler slots into his old berth at No.7.
Bairstow said: “I’m really pleased about batting at No.5. There’s been speculation and now it has happened.
“I was only too pleased when Ed Smith (England’s new chief selector) ‘phoned and told me – it’s something I’ve done for Yorkshire for a while.
“I’m very proud to be asked to move up the order – it means the people in charge have belief in me to go out and deliver. They are asking a little extra, they are saying, ‘We want you to do this, we trust you, we believe in you.’
“That’s what you want. You want the captain, coach and head selectors to back you.
“It works well with Jos keeping in white ball cricket and me doing the job in the Tests. There’s an understanding that either of us can keep wicket on any given day, given the opportunity, but I’d like to think my keeping has gone from strength to strength. The hard work doesn’t stop.
“If I drop a chance, I’m not going to be thinking, ‘Oh, blooming heck.’ I might be catching 500 to 600 balls in a day and, realistically, there are going to be half-chances that maybe bounce in front of first slip as I dive across.”
After captain Joe Root, Bairstow is currently England’s best and most consistent batsman.
His elevation to No.5 means he will be stranded with the tail less often but the flip-side is that he might have to bat within a few minutes of keeping wicket if England lose early wickets.
Bairstow added: “Occasionally, you’re back in the middle quickly after being in the field for a lot of overs but you have to deal with it – that’s why we do all the physical preparation.
“You’re going to be tired at the end of a Test match no matter what, so whether I bat at five or seven isn’t going to make too much difference.
“I wouldn’t say frustration is the right word when I’ve been left with the tail. It’s something that can happen batting at seven, it’s part and parcel of Test cricket.
“In the past, whenever a challenge has been thrown down, I like to think I’ve stepped up and risen to those challenges and responsibilities and taken them in my stride.
“That’s exactly what I’ll be trying to do now. I don’t think moving up will affect me in any way. I know I’ll relish it.”
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