Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], January 29 (ANI): England's assistant batting coach Graham Thorpe said on Friday that Jonny Bairstow will join the squad after the first Test against India, but the official England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) media team later confirmed that the plan is still for the batsman to return for the third and fourth Test.
The England selectors and team management faced huge criticism for resting the batsman for the first two Tests against India, which will be played in Chennai. Thorpe defended the team's decision to rest Bairstow for the first two Tests given the bio-bubble situation forced by the coronavirus pandemic.
"Every individual case is different. They are managing the amount of time in the environment. The T20 World Cup, which is coming up, got the IPL tournament as well where players gain a lot of experience. I suppose Jonny is on a white-ball contract at the moment as well but he is coming back in after the first Test back into the squad," Thorpe said in the virtual press conference.
But the ECB media team later sent out a message saying: "To clarify, the plan is still for Jonny Bairstow to return for the third and fourth Test and not the second Test. Along with Sam Curran and Mark Wood."
Former England captain Michael Vaughan had lashed out at England selectors for resting Bairstow as he 'plays spin well'. "Surely @jbairstow21 stays with the Test team for the start of the #India series ... makes no sense that a player who has only just got his Test place back & plays spin is well is resting !!!! #SLvENG !!#OnOn," Vaughan had tweeted.
Earlier, Vaughan had tweeted, "The only player in England's Top 3 that's playing the sub-continent conditions with any control or calmness is resting for the first 2 Tests against the best Team in world at home #India !!! The world is officially mad ... #SLvENG."
Thorpe added that facing India at home will be a "real challenge" for the English team.
"India at home is a real challenge. They are playing good cricket, they have been very strong at home and they are coming at the back of the win against Australia as well. For us, it presents a real challenge. We have got some players who have not toured here and it will be learning for them," he said.
India and England are set to lock horns in four Tests, three ODIs, and five T20Is. The first two games of the 4-game series will be played in Chennai before the cricketers move to Ahmedabad for the third and fourth Test. (ANI)