Rivals not stumped for keepers who bat

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 12/02/2013
Jonny Bairstow
REUTERS
KEEPING HIS HAND IN: Yorkshireman Jonny Bairstow is one of several players England can ask to do a job with the gloves.

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The Black Caps aren't the only side pondering a surfeit of wicketkeeping options.

While skipper Brendon McCullum and B J Watling handle limited-overs and test duties respectively, the looming figure of Luke Ronchi promises to make it a three-way proposition - and that's assuming Kruger van Wyk isn't called upon again.

The touring England side that will meet New Zealand in the second Twenty20 international in Hamilton tonight is likely to feature two hugely talented wicketkeeper-batsmen.

Jos Buttler handled the glove duties in England's 40-run thumping of the hosts at Eden Park on Saturday night and also plundered 32 not out off 16 balls, but Jonny Bairstow also staked his claim for the starting spot for the remainder of the tour with 38 off 22 balls.

The 23-year-old Yorkshireman, who has already represented his country in all three formats of the game, is relaxed about who gets the nod for the gloves at this stage.

"It's a call that was made and we just go with it," Bairstow said yesterday.

"I was pleased obviously with the batting side of things the other night, and my fielding as well.

"It shows the strength and depth of the squad - the last Twenty20 series we had three wicketkeepers in the team.

"It's really good for the game at the moment that we've got the options to do either. It's like in the bowling department we've got, if one of the guys isn't necessarily fit, or isn't bowling as well, someone else just steps in. Same with the batting, so it's a healthy rivalry to have."

The son of former England keeper David Bairstow was part of an England top six that all contributed runs at better than a run-a-ball in Auckland - a display the New Zealand batsmen were unable to duplicate.

"We were obviously very pleased with the way the performance went the other night," he said.

"I think that was a record score for us in a Twenty20 game ... we were very pleased with posting a score like that and very confident we could defend a total like that.

"It wasn't going to be easy because New Zealand have got some extremely dangerous players and it only needs one of them to come off for five overs and the game changes."

Bairstow expects a stronger showing from New Zealand tonight but warns England can also get better.

"We were pleased with all aspects of our cricket ... but we're obviously looking to improve and keep going for the whole series."

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- The Dominion Post

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