England have decided Jos Buttler is the “right man” to keep wicket for them in place of Jonny Bairstow in the fourth Specsavers Test against India.
Captain Joe Root confirmed in Southampton that Buttler will be behind the stumps, having stepped in for Bairstow when the Yorkshireman broke his left middle finger mid-match at Trent Bridge last week.
Root also announced all-rounder Moeen Ali’s return for his first Test of the summer at the expense of dropped specialist batsman Ollie Pope – whose number four position will be filled by Bairstow, while Sam Curran is back as well for the injured Chris Woakes.
Explaining the reasons for Bairstow playing as a batsman only as England seek to close out series victory, Root said: “It was a medical call.
“He didn’t seem fit to be able to keep 100 per cent in a Test match for five days, and that was the call that was made.
“He will be disappointed. But ultimately we’ve got to make sure we do the best thing for this team to win this game, and I believe Jos is the right man to do it this time.”
Moeen gives England an extra spin option as well as batting depth at number seven, after his brilliant all-round performance for Worcestershire against Yorkshire at Scarborough last week.
Root said: “He’s in fine form; he’s gone back to his county – and what you want from international players is for them to go back and prove a point.
“That’s exactly what Moeen’s done in the last couple of weeks.”
As England bid for an unassailable 3-1 lead following their 203-run defeat in Nottingham, Root added: “It’s a big week, no doubt.
“We under-performed last week – that’s the bottom line – and we have a great opportunity to put that right this time around.
“I think one of our big strengths as a squad is our strength of character – and at home in particular, we’re very good at bouncing back after difficult weeks.
“We’ve done it time and time again before, and we don’t expect anything less from the group this time as well.”