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"England plans to stick with Bairstow for the fourth India Test, believing that he will perform well in the upcoming game."
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“England plans to stick with Bairstow for the fourth India Test, believing that he will perform well in the upcoming game.”

England will continue to trust in Jonny Bairstow for the fourth Test in Ranchi starting on Friday, as their head coach Brendon McCullum intends to remind the player from Yorkshire of his skills during the quick turnaround. After suffering a 434-run loss in Rajkot, where India achieved their biggest Test victory by runs to go up 2-1 in the series, the visiting team must now prove their bold approach and commitment to their lineup by winning the upcoming match.

Bairstow, who only faced seven balls in his two innings during the third Test and achieved the record for the eighth time getting no runs in India, is one of the main worries. The same goes for Joe Root, who is also having a subdued tour. As for Bairstow, who played a crucial role in England’s improved performance under McCullum and Ben Stokes in 2022, there may be extra assistance available.

When discussing Bairstow’s immediate plans, McCullum stated that he expects him to play in the Ranchi match. However, Bairstow has not been performing as well as he would have liked and has been getting out relatively easily despite his strong batting abilities. Despite this, McCullum expressed confidence in Bairstow’s abilities and does not have any concerns about his performance.

Bairstow, who is currently 34 years old, is just two games away from reaching 100 caps in Test cricket and is only 96 runs shy of reaching 6,000 runs in his career. His success is credited to his resilience. McCullum’s approach to coaching focuses on the individual rather than just the cricketer. He describes Bairstow as being “a little bit different” in a positive way and emphasizes that it’s important to have diversity within the team to avoid monotony.

McCullum said: “We know that a top-quality Jonny Bairstow is as good as anyone in any conditions. So from our point of view we’ve got to keep on giving him confidence and block out a lot of the external noise; keep him really present and focused on what he’s trying to achieve and I’m sure Jonny will come good.

“We’re a long way from home and India can be a tough place to tour – anywhere can be. [I will] spend a bit of time with Jonny and remind him that he’s such a wonderful player. And not because you’re trying to get a performance but because he’s a good bloke and you want to make sure he’s enjoying himself. Whatever happens results-wise happens.”

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Prior to choosing their offensive strategy, the England team will assess the physical condition of Jimmy Anderson and Mark Wood, who have bowled 38 and 37.5 overs respectively in Rajkot. Anderson in particular faced some challenges while bowling against Yashasvi Jaiswal’s second double century of the series. Ollie Robinson, who is well-rested and has proven his ability to adapt on flat pitches during the previous winter tour in Pakistan, may also be considered as an option.

It is uncertain if Stokes will speed up his recovery from knee surgery in November to resume bowling. He had initially aimed for the summer, but has now started bowling at full intensity during training. This could expand his choices, but it also carries some risk, in line with the team’s overall strategy.

McCullum stated that Ben is highly intelligent and will only bowl if he believes he is capable of doing so. The concern would be if he becomes too invested in a particular spell and struggles to break away from it. Therefore, we will observe how the situation unfolds. If he does become fixated, I will make an effort to redirect his focus. However, his determination is a positive indication.

Source: theguardian.com