Jonny Bairstow is the right man to keep wicket for England during this summer’s Test series against Sri Lanka instead of Lancashire’s Jos Buttler, according to Ashes winner Matt Prior.
Bairstow has started the season in fine form, scoring 246 runs for Yorkshire against Hampshire, while comparatively, his rival for the England gloves, Buttler, has been playing in the Indian Premier League.
Prior, who featured in 79 Tests, was criticised in his early international career for his naive glovework.
A similar accusation is currently being levelled at Bairstow – a man good enough to command a batting position regardless of his wicketkeeping.
But former Sussex keeper-batsman Prior believes it is time people got off Bairstow’s back and allowed the Yorkshire man to develop his glovework without constant criticism.
“Jonny Bairstow is the man with the gloves at the minute and he has started the season brilliantly with a big hundred,” said One Pro Cycling chief executive Prior, speaking at the Tour de Yorkshire.
“I just think it is very healthy for English cricket to have two hugely talented batsmen-wicketkeepers fighting for one position, that has got to be a good thing.
“Jonny’s batting was outstanding in South Africa and he proved that he can score hundreds batting at seven, which is vital for any wicketkeeper now in Test cricket. There are a couple of areas with his keeping, I’m sure he’d admit, that he needs to improve but I’ve no doubt he is working hard on them.
“I’m convinced he has a huge future ahead of him in Test cricket.”
Buttler has previously been England’s No.1 wicketkeeper but his performances with the bat against Pakistan in the UAE saw the former Somerset man dropped. Despite starring for England in limited-overs and T20 cricket since his omission from the Test side, Buttler is still desperate to play the longer form of the game.
Buttler was granted special permission to miss the start of the County Championship season and go and play in the IPL to further his performances in the shorter-form of the game.
And Prior still believes Buttler has a place in the Test side if he can learn how to adapt and pace his innings.
“At the moment the IPL is where it’s at, it was a decision he made and he was supported by the ECB, so that is what he is doing,” said Prior.
“Of course he will want to be pushing hard to get back into the Test team, and for him to do that he is going to have to be working hard on his keeping.
“He also needs to be keeping wicket in Championship cricket, but I think there is time for that.”
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