The Ashes: Jonny Bairstow or Ben Foakes? England’s wicketkeeper question reignites age-old debate

Jonny Bairstow’s batting prowess was evident in the first Test against Australia, showcasing his importance to the England team. However, his errors as a wicketkeeper sparked discussions about bringing back Ben Foakes, known for his specialized skills behind the stumps. You can catch the live broadcast of the second Test at Lord’s on Sky Sports starting from Wednesday, with the coverage beginning at 10 am and the first ball scheduled for 11 am.

The ongoing debate of selecting a specialist wicketkeeper versus a batsman who can also keep wicket has been a long-standing issue in the England Test team. This topic remains unsettled and continues to generate controversy.

Bairstow’s place in the team solely based on his batting ability is unquestionable. His impressive innings of 78 runs, scored at a rapid pace, in the recent Test match against Australia at Edgbaston highlighted his immense value to the team.

Nevertheless, Bairstow’s dropped catches and missed stumping opportunities during Australia’s victory in the first Test, leading to a 1-0 series lead for them, raised doubts about whether Foakes, a specialist wicketkeeper, should have been retained.

The situation is more complex than it appears. Captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum have chosen a lineup that aligns with their aggressive and attacking approach to Test cricket. Furthermore, the emergence of Harry Brook as a formidable middle-order batsman has made it even more challenging to accommodate Foakes alongside Bairstow.

“They’re picking the side because they know they need Bairstow back in,” former England captain Nasser Hussain told Sky Sports. “He epitomized ‘Bazball’ last year – he set it up at Trent Bridge [against New Zealand], he’s a wonderful player, he did in the first innings [against Australia at Edgbaston].

“I agree Foakes is a better ‘keeper – he’s an exceptional ‘keeper. If you get him in, you have to leave someone out. Bairstow has to play. You can’t play 12, so [Zak] Crawley is vulnerable.

“If you leave Crawley out, someone has to open. Bairstow doesn’t want to open, his success has been at No 7. It’s all very well and good saying who should play, I want to know who should be left out.”

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Anoosha Khan
Anoosha Khan

Anoosha Khan is a film critic and entertainment editor based in the UK. She has been reporting about celebs and movies for WatchinUK for the past year.

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