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Bairstow ‘feels good’ and is ‘desperate’ to retain place behind the stumps

“If I’m not able to keep wicket I’d like to think that I’d play as a specialist batsman but at the same time I’m desperate to try and keep my place as the keeper."

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Jonny Bairstow is eager to reain wicketkeeping duties for England

England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow has given England a fitness boost ahead of the fourth Test against India at The Ageas Bowl.

After injuring his finger during the third Test at Trent Bridge last week, which meant Bairstow could only bat with Jos Buttler replacing him as wicketkeeper and saw James Vince called up to the squad as cover, the Yorkshire player has alleviated fears that he may miss the crucial contest in Southampton and also reiterated his desire to keep wicket for the foreseeable future.

“The finger feels good. We’ll know more later on today. The swelling has gone down and it’s a lot better than I thought it would be.

“I’m going to try and keep wicket in training this afternoon.”

Much has been made about Bairstow’s role as wicketkeeper alongside his batting, especially with Buttler a primed and ready option should England choose to commit to Bairstow as a specialist batsman with the Test vice-captain Buttler taking over with the gloves in the long term.

Bairstow , speaking at an England press conference at The Ageas Bowl, stated: “If I’m not able to keep wicket I’d like to think that I’d play as a specialist batsman but at the same time I’m desperate to try and keep my place as the keeper."

When asked about the questions surrounding his full potential being unlocked if he wasn’t keeping, Bairstow responded: “It’s quite a bold statement.  If you look at the stats then they suggest that my stats would be better if I’m keeping wicket as well. You’re kind of entering into uncharted territories when you’re making these bold statements.

“I’m very keen to keep my spot as the keeper because I’d like to think it’s gone pretty well the last 38 or 39 matches keeping wicket for England.

With England 2-1 up, Thursday’s fourth Test will be pivotal in deciding the direction of the series, Bairstow said: “It’s going to be a great contest. In the last Test match that was played here it was a comprehensive win so we’ll turn up fully confident, excited and raring to go."

VINCE INCLUDED IN ENGLAND SQUAD AS COVER FOR INJURED BAIRSTOW

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