sports gazette

Top FIVE candidates to be England wicketkeeper

James Foster has started 2014 in great form with the bat. © Richard Jude
Published: 18 May 2014

Matt Prior's run as England glove-man has been interrupted by poor form and injury, Sports Gazette assesses the potential replacements if he doesn't line up against Sri Lanka.

5) Jonny Bairstow

The first man to get a go since Prior’s place came under question in Australia was Jonny Bairstow.

Circumstances fell in Bairstow’s favour with England choosing to take him Down Under as part of the squad as a backup batsman and wicketkeeper, after he failed to nail down a spot in the side solely as a batsman.

He played in the last two Ashes Test matches, and in a series that had already been lost he didn’t cover himself in glory with the bat or the gloves.

He started the season injured, but having got back in the Yorkshire team has continued to score the runs at county level that got the selectors interested in the first place, and that can only count in his favour.

4) Jos Buttler

The favourite for the role is England’s current one-day wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, who at 23 has age on his side, and his ability to score quickly is similar to that of Prior when the Sussex man is in top form.

Having moved to Lancashire to play as a wicketkeeper, he has nailed his colours to the mast, he wants the England job in all three forms.

He has cemented his place as England’s finisher in one-day cricket with his innovative batting, and potential rival for a Test spot James Foster thinks Buttler’s batting could also be well suited to the longer form of the game.

Three 50s for Lancashire so far this season have shown some form, but not going on to make a century will have annoyed him as he looks to prove himself as the front runner.

3) Craig Kieswetter

Also highlighted by Sports Gazette as a potential star with the bat for the T20 Blast, Kieswetter is an outsider for this role.

His batting was what won him a place in the England one-day side, and while he hasn’t represented his adopted nation for over a year, his four-day average has touched 40 and he is in the runs once more.

Somerset chose to back him as their wicketkeeper over Jos Buttler last year and that reflects an improvement in his glove-work, even since he first got selected by England.

It would be a surprise if he was to be drawn in from the international wilderness for a Test debut, but his run-scoring could warrant such as a surprise choice.

2) Steven Davies

A few years ago Steven Davies looked the heir-apparent to fill in as England’s wicketkeeper.

Another aggressive batsman, Davies is again more suited to one-day cricket, and has played 13 times for England without being able to nail down a place.

He looked set to be chosen as England’s wicketkeeper for the 2011 World Cup, but at the eleventh hour they drafted Matt Prior back in and the Surrey man hasn’t represented his country since.

His First-Class average of 38 is good without being exceptional, and the fact he has chosen to give up the gloves to focus on his batting in the short-term would also count against him being considered for selection at the moment.

1) James Foster

The oldest and most experienced in terms of Test wicketkeeper, James Foster is a outside bet who has seen support growing of late.

The 34-year-old last played Test cricket in 2002, but he is flourishing as Essex captain, and remains the most gifted glove-man in the country.

His First-Class average of 37 highlights the fact he is not the strongest batting candidate, but he would appear to be in the form of his life with the willow, averaging 75 so far this season.

Former England wicketkeeper Paul Nixon, and Essex head coach Paul Grayson have both championed Cook of late, and what he lacks in terms of a long-term future he makes up for in ability and experience.

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