Jonny Bairstow: Zafar Ansari Can Be A ‘Good Asset’ For England

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England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow says spin bowler Zafar Ansari can be a “good asset” for his country.

The Surrey bowler, 24, was seen being congratulated by team-mates at training and is expected to make his Test debut on Friday against Bangladesh.

England secured a 22-run victory in the first Test, but are yet to announce the team for the second on Friday.

“The pace that he bowls and the control that he has can only be a positive thing for us,” Bairstow told BBC Sport.

“The bite that he’ll get out of the wicket being a left-arm orthodox bowler – I think it’s a good asset for us.”

Ansari missed the chance to make his England debut in 2015 after dislocating his left thumb and injuring the same thumb in May this year.

His chance could come at the expense of batsman Gary Ballance or veteran spinner Gareth Batty – while pace bowler Stuart Broad is also reportedly set to be rested.

Steve Finn or Jake Ball would replace the Nottinghamshire paceman.

Record runs

Bairstow broke the record for the most runs scored by a wicketkeeper in a year during the first Bangladesh Test, surpassing ex-Zimbabwe star Andy Flower’s 16-year-old previous record of 1,045.

The England wicketkeeper has already scored 1,091 runs this year, with six Tests remaining.

“It’s not sunk in yet. I think it’s something that won’t sink in until after the year’s gone out. There’s so much cricket still to be played this year,” he said.

“But I’m absolutely delighted to have scored so many runs this year and hopefully it can continue.”

Strength and depth

The Yorkshire right-hander – who has been batting at seven – has praised the “strength and depth” in the England squad, saying he is just “happy to be in the side”.

Bairstow added: “It’s great to be surrounded by such great players at the moment.

“If you look at myself, [Chris] Woakes, [Adil] Rashid – within those three guys I think you’ve got something like 40 first-class 100s coming in at seven, eight and nine.

“That’s a great place to be, with the strength and depth we’re showing with our batting line-up.”

Anderson still unavailable

England’s all-time leading wicket-taker James Anderson will miss the second Bangladesh Test, along with the first Test against India in November while he continues to recover from a shoulder injury.

That means Ball remains with the squad after being added to the party for the current tour of Bangladesh.

“For a guy to have the record amount of wickets ever by an English bowler – naturally it’s a miss for the squad,” Bairstow said.

“But it’s great to have Jimmy back bowling in England and hopefully he’s back fit as soon as he can be.”

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