Jonny Bairstow could return for England's pre-Ashes Test with Ireland

Jonny Bairstow could be back as England’s keeper-batsman for the pre-Ashes Test against Ireland next month after recovering from broken leg… leaving Ben Foakes on the sidelines despite a flawless year

  • England will name their squad to face Ireland in a pre-Ashes test next month
  • Jonny Bairstow could be the keeper-batsman after recovering from a broken leg
  • It would be bad news for Ben Foakes who has been flawless in the role recently 

England are giving serious consideration to bringing back Jonny Bairstow as keeper-batsman at the expense of Ben Foakes.

Managing director Rob Key will on Tuesday declare England’s hand when he names his squad to take on Ireland at Lord’s in their pre-Ashes Test and Bairstow has done enough to prove his fitness to return with both bat and gloves after recovering from a badly broken leg.

That could be bad news for Foakes, who has done nothing wrong since reclaiming the gloves in the Caribbean last year and has played a full part in the England transformation that has seen them win 10 out of 12 Tests under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum.

The return of Bairstow has been something of an elephant in the room for England, who insisted he would ‘walk back into the side’ as soon as he was fit from the freak accident when he slipped at his local golf course and seriously damaged his left leg and ankle.

But the problem has always been who to leave out and that dilemma has not resolved itself in the early weeks of the season, with Bairstow making it clear how he saw his route back into the side by immediately taking the gloves on his Yorkshire comeback.

Jonny Bairstow may return to England’s pre-Ashes Test squad against Ireland next month

Ben Foakes has been flawless since taking on the keeper role in Bairstow’s injury absence

Zak Crawley’s position of opener is under scrutiny, but England are set to keep the faith

The position of Zak Crawley remains under scrutiny but England appear determined to stick with an opener who has again proved this season he can produce both the sublime with a big hundred against Essex and the ridiculous of four single figure scores for Kent.

It appears inconceivable England would leave the issue dragging beyond the Ireland Test that starts on June 1 and whoever they choose on Tuesday as keeper can look forward to starting the Ashes against Australia at Edgbaston on June 16.

England remain confident Jimmy Anderson will recover in time from the ‘minor’ groin injury he suffered while playing for Lancashire against Somerset on Thursday but he may be rested against Ireland to ensure he is fully for Edgbaston.

Possible England squad v Ireland on June 1 

Crawley, Duckett, Pope, Root, Brook, Stokes (captain), Bairstow (keeper), Robinson, Broad, Leach, Wood, Anderson, Potts

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