Former English skipper Nasser Hussain has questioned England's tactics of leaving out Jonny Bairstow from India Tests and asked whether selectors would have taken such decisions if it was Ashes. He also urged them to rethink their decision as Bairstow is one of the best players against spin.
For the Tests in Sri Lanka and India, England are experimenting with rotation policy for selection keeping in mind the bio-bubble and the COVID times. They decided to leave out hard-hitting wicket-keeper batsman Jonny Bairstow, who had a good tour of India last time, from the side for the four-Test series coming up. Just some days back, the English batsman Bairstow scored 47 and 35 not out in England's memorable victory over Sri Lanka in the first Test in Galle.
Bairstow is considered as one of the best England batsmen against spin bowlers in Test cricket. Former England skipper Hussain reckons it's a concern that the Three Lions are letting Bairstow go after the Sri Lanka series and they should rethink their decision.
"I would say it's a concern that one of England's best three players of spin -- I would say Bairstow is alongside Joe Root and Ben Stokes in that -- has been given a boarding pass home and the others are going to Chennai," Hussain was quoted as saying by Sky Sports, reported TOI.
"I'd have to rethink. It must be an absolute nightmare what the players have been through (during these Covid times). They had the whole of last summer and then had the IPL. Then it was South Africa, now Sri Lanka, then India and then IPL again."
The cricket pundit also asserted that England would be better off putting their best side in the park against India and Bairstow is one of the best for England against spin.
"I get that and I am not downplaying it at all. It must be a nightmare for the selectors, but shouldn't you have your best side for that first India Test?
"England fans switching on when it is turning and England are 20/2 may well have the argument. I want to see our best batsman against spin, or one of them, in Bairstow."
He also has his doubts whether England would have taken the same route if it was the Ashes series than one against India. He feels that England should field their best side against in an iconic series.
"If the next Test after this series was Brisbane in the Ashes, would we send our best side? So why when it's the first Test against India, one of the great sides, aren't we sending our best team?
"It is that balancing act of being fair to the public and winning what's in front of you and long-term planning all year," Hussain said.
"Should you be resting or rotating for India or do you turn up to the first Test of that India series, an iconic series, and pick your best side?"
India and England will lock horns in the first Test in Chennai from February 5 onwards