Bairstow called up as cover for Denly for NZ Tests

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Bairstow called up as cover for Denly for NZ Tests
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Jonny Bairstow has been called up to England’s Test squad for the two-match series against New Zealand as cover for Joe Denly who suffered an ankle injury while training last week.

Bairstow will remain with the squad after the end of the T20I series which concludes on Sunday (November 10) at Eden Park in Auckland and provide cover for England’s two-day warm-up match against a New Zealand Cricket XI and the three-day game against New Zealand ‘A’, both to be played at Cobham Oval, Whangarei.

According to the ECB, Denly suffered ligament damage to his right ankle while training ahead of the first T20I last week. Although the 33-year-old took part in some light training on Thursday, including having some throwdowns, England’s management has decided to be precautious by adding Bairstow to the Test party.

Denly, who impressed with his improved displays during the summer’s Ashes series, hopes to be fit for the three-day warm-up game beginning on Friday (November 15). Should he miss that deadline, it is highly unlikely he will be part of the team for the first Test at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui. That could open the door for his Kent teammate Zak Crawley to make a Test debut in the top three.

Bairstow was left out of England’s original Test squad after a poor Ashes. He averaged just 23.77 from five matches with just one half-century. At the time of the squad announcement for the New Zealand tour, Ed Smith, England’s national selector, said Bairstow’s exclusion was “an opportunity for Jonny to reset” but that he expected the Yorkshireman to come back stronger.

Denly’s injury may allow Bairstow a way back sooner than he or Smith might have thought.

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