‘Could play just as batsman’

England's Jonny Bairstow. Reuters

England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, who fractured the middle finger of his right hand in the previous Test at Trent Bridge, said he might have to play purely as a specialist batsman in the fourth Test starting Thursday — a situation he’s not too happy about.

“The finger feels good. The swelling’s gone down and it’s a lot better than I thought it was going to be. I wasn’t able to put my hand in my pocket a few days ago — that’s absolutely fine now. I want to play so if I’m not able to keep wicket I’d like to think I can play as a specialist batsman. At the same time I’m still desperate to try to keep my place as the keeper,” said Bairstow at Tuesday’s press conference at Aegeas Bowl.

“If you look at the stats they suggest I’m better if I keep wicket as well. You’re kind of entering into unchartered territory (playing as a specialist batsman). I’d like to keep my spot as keeper because I like to think it’s gone well over the last 38 or 39 Tests since I’ve been keeping for England.”

All three matches in this series have produced results and Bairstow felt fourth game too will be very exciting. “It will be a great contest. We’re 2-1 up in the series and India played well in the last game. In the last Test played here we had a comprehensive win so we’ll turn up fully confident and excited after a few days off. We’re raring to go.

“They have to win the next two games in order to clinch the series. It will be a fantastic game and we’re full of confidence. It might not harm us not to put in our best performance halfway through the series because it makes us want to come back and put the record straight.”

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‘Could play just as batsman’

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