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Take Bairstow out of firing line: Cook urges England to bench the out-of-form batter

Bairstow has been averaging 17.00 and has registered scores of 0, 4, 25, 26, 37 and 10 in his past six innings. England are set to play their 4th test against India at Ranchi on February 23.
Last Updated 21 February 2024, 08:25 IST

London: Former captain Alastair Cook has urged England to drop wicketkeeper-batter Jonny Bairstow from the Ranchi Test against India, to 'protect the player' who is having an abysmal series.

Bairstow, who is playing as a specialist batter, has endured a woeful run in the ongoing five-match series. He is averaging 17.00 having registered scores of 0, 4, 25, 26, 37 and 10 in six innings.

"I'm taking him out of the firing line to protect the player, as I think he's had a tough tour so far and India is a tough place to keep going on the treadmill," Cook told TNT Sport.

"I'm not saying he'll never play Test cricket again, but it's good to have someone who's fresh of all the debris of this series so far," he added.

Cook backed Dan Lawrence to replace Bairstow as the all-rounder will step up out in Ranchi without any baggage.

"When you're not scoring runs, there's a build-up of pressure and momentum from certain bowlers on you, so I'd let Dan Lawrence have a go." Cook said

However, another former captain Michael Atherton feels the England team management will continue to back Bairstow to come good.

"(Bairstow) has been so central to this project that I don't see them leaving him out now, at a critical juncture,' Atherton said on the 'Sky Sports Cricket Podcast'.

He called for the inclusion of Ollie Robinson and uncapped Gus Atkinson.

"The two people I'm bringing in are Ollie Robinson and Gus Atkinson -- we haven't seen Gus in a Test match before, but everyone I've spoken to about him thinks he could do well.

We've seen a lot of Ollie Robinson, who has great skill and great control. He'll give the control that Anderson gives, whereas Atkinson gives that freshness. Both will be raring to go." he said

Atherton also felt that England would opt to freshen up their bowling attack by resting 41-year-old Anderson.

"My instincts would say they'll freshen up the bowling, that they may bring in Robinson for Anderson and may think about Atkinson for Wood," Atherton said.

The final match is scheduled to be played in Dharamsala, where the conditions at altitude are known to aid pacers.

India have decided to rest pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah from the fourth Test and Cook feels the tourists should do the same with their quicks James Anderson and Mark Wood, who have both played two matches each.

"I think James Anderson and Mark Wood will be very effective in the cooler conditions of Dharamsala, so I'm taking them out of the attack as they've bowled a lot of overs in a short period," Cook said.

England trail the series 1-2.

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(Published 21 February 2024, 08:25 IST)

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