Auditions for the role of England wicketkeeper

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Jos Buttler and England's next wicketkeeper

Jonny Bairstow got to play a couple of Tests against a dominant team, having not kept wicket for about half a year. Strangely, he didn’t hugely impress. That, combined with Matt Prior having been cut by the thunder, means there is now a significant Jos Buttler subplot to these one-day internationals. How’s it going so far?

Well, he’s batting at eight. ‘Finishing’ is Buttler’s job and he only really needs to be in for about 10 overs in order to impress, but even so, this smacks of giving your most exciting batsman little chance to make a stronger case for himself. Prior will hopefully score some first-class runs early next season, rendering all of this irrelevant, but there needs to be a Plan B and if it’s not Jonny Bairstow and it doesn’t turn out to be Jos Buttler, what is it? It’s probably flailing around, picking whoever happens to have played okay in May before going back to Bairstow for a bit, just cycling through options until one sticks.

These matches will also see bowlers auditioning for the role of third seamer in the Test team. Chris Jordan probably won round one. One for 50 is a win these days.


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  1. Of all of the players in the ODI team the other night, Bopara is the most likely choice for first-change test seamer given the selectors’ apparent desire to pick bowlers more for their not contributing to a long tail than for their bowling ability.

    On the wicket-keeper conundrum, it’s a shame that England can’t really afford to pick a specialist keeper (e.g. Michael Bates of Hampshire) rather than a batsman wearing gloves.

    1. Maybe if they find enough seam-bowling all-rounders, they actually could go down that route.

      But you’re right, they won’t.

    2. What happened to Steven Davies? Is he injured or retired or something? He used to score loads of first-class runs and used to be a wicketkeeper.

      He may have stopped all these things and gone into banking. I’m too lazy to google it.

    3. Performing creditably considering he has to play for Surrey these days. Two hundreds and an average of 45 in the first division last year.

    4. Last season’s championship performance is one part of a rich tapestry. We still think Matt Prior’s far and away the best man for the job if he can repair himself over the next few months.

    5. Oh yes, that’s a given. But if you’re looking for a decent stand-in, pick Davies.

      Especially as I seem to be the only person on the planet who thinks Bairstow’s a better batsman than Root – and he’ll get stuffed by being a keeper – when he should, simply, be in England’s middle order.

    6. Davies face doesn’t seem to fit with England sadly. Seems to have been a waste of time taking him on several overseas tours, supposedly because he was being geared up to be Prior’s replacements, but then drop him without ever playing a single Test!

  2. I am sure I have read multiple times on this blog the virtue of format based selection. How does Buttler’s batting in ODI format in any way impact his Test selection? No, no, Bopara for first change is a great call. I think he is actually just slow enough to get movement. Around the 78-80mph mark seems the sweet spot.

    1. If there is an empty spot in the Test team, *someone* has to fill it. In that scenario, one-day batting doesn’t tell you everything – but it does tell you something.

  3. Why not just revert to the old debate?

    Jones, Read, Foster – they’re all still playing. It would save a lot of faff.

  4. I ran in to Jim Carter, the actor who plays Carson the Butler in Downton Abbey, lining up to buy an ice cream at the SCG on the opening day of the 5th test. Can’t believe I didn’t think to quip that I assumed his favourite cricketer was Jos.

    1. Titter ye not, folks. The lad Eckersley is making superb progress, albeit in the 2nd division.

      Anyone who started at Ealing gets on the Ged and Daisy radar!

      Ned’s a rather silly first name for a cricketer, though. More likely to be demolishing looms than tweeting about demolishing chicken in Nandos while playing cricket for England, with a name like Ned.

    2. Yeah, but if he called himself Edmund Eckersley he’d sound like a detective from 1950s L.A.

  5. What about Glamorgan’s John Glover? He could be the third seamer by virtue of his height, and wicket keeper by virtue of nominative determinism. Two birds literally killed with one figurative stone.

    In a similar vein, the batting could be improved by giving Norman Knowswhichendofabattohold a chance in the top order.

    1. The Normans were very good at cricket. The first Norman king of England, William the Conqueror, was known in French as Guillaume Le Bâtard (William the Batsman), on account of him achieving 1066 runs in May. He played his cricket mostly in the south, where he was particularly admired for his ruthless displays against the northern counties, as recorded in The Domesday Book of Cricket, the precursor to Wisden.

    2. There’s a few. Hell, Purgatory and Paradise make up the three volumes of St. Mitchell of Johnson’s reflections. Canterbury Tales is a collection of ribald stories about early county cricket. And Le Morte d’Arthur is a memoir of an 11th Century Australian tour of India.

  6. Isn’t kieswetter a better w/k then buttler which is why Somerset kept him? We need to up the saffer influence in the team aswell.

    1. It’s questionable whether he’s better. He perhaps shades it at present, but plenty of people who know about this sort of stuff are of the opinion that Buttler will eventually become significantly the better of the two. He’s also a notch above as a batsman.

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