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New Zealand vs England: Jonny Bairstow added as a cover for Joe Denly in Test squad

According to the England Cricket Board, Denly suffered ligament damage to his right ankle while batting in the nets in the lead-up to the five-match T20I series.

Jonny Bairstow
England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Weeks after wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow was dropped from the Test side following an extended lean patch against the red-ball, the swashbuckling white-ball opener could find himself in the thick of things following an unfortunate injury to Joe Denly at the start of the ongoing T20I series against New Zealand. The Yorkshireman has been added into the squad as a cover for the injured 33-year-old Denly.

According to the England Cricket Board, Denly suffered ligament damage to his right ankle while batting in the nets in the lead-up to the five-match IT20 series. Bairstow will provide cover for the injured all-rounder during England’s two-day warm-up match against New Zealand Cricket XI and the three-day fixture against New Zealand ‘A’, both will be played at Cobham Oval in Whangarei.

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How Denly shapes up in the second warm-up match will eventually decide whether Bairstow stays in New Zealand or continue his time out of the Test set-up. Bairstow’s axing from England’s red-ball side came after an extended period of a lean patch. In 36 innings since the start of January 2018, the wicketkeeper-batsman has managed 933 runs at an average of 25.91 with his technique against the moving ball being consistently challenged.

Christmas might come early for Jonny Bairstow

It reached its nadir during the recently concluded Ashes series during the home summer where Bairstow averages a measly 23.77 from five matches with just a solitary half-century. Bairstow had admitted that he eas surprised by his exclusion but had vowed to come out stronger from the setback, insisting that it wasn’t the first he has encountered adversity in his career.

“I love my Test cricket. Naturally, it’s disappointing. It isn’t the first occasion when I have been left out from the team. Hopefully, it will be the last. If the yearning and want to play for England was not there, at that point I would not have done what I have accomplished for such a long time. I will play as a batsman or as a keeper. It is an instance of what would I be able to do to get back in the team? Having the option to leave and deal with your game is something everybody needs. It is a chance to invest some quality time doing that. I am still just youthful. It is not like I’m 36 or 37,” Bairstow was quoted by Wisden India.

With Denly getting injured, Christmas may come early for Bairstow, giving him another opportunity of proving his credentials in the truest format of the game, again. 

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