Cricket Comment: Bring in Bairstow and bump Root up the order

Andy Lloyd
I WAS not as surprised as some when I heard that Jonathan Trott was leaving the England Ashes squad because of a stress-related illness. He is a complex character and has always been his own man.

His performance in the first Test was not one of a man in the right mindset. In the second innings it was clear he needed to play defensively, but instead he was trying to use attacking shots.

His departure has led to scrutiny of some of the comments made by Australia players on and off the field, and while some were untoward we cannot do away with sledging.

Australia captain Michael Clarke’s warning that Jimmy Anderson might get a broken arm was out of order, as the fine he incurred suggests, while David Warner’s description of Trott as “poor” and “weak” showed a lack of education.

But on-field there has always been sledging and personal ridicule. Whether you give it or not, you’ve got to take it. Test cricket is full on; mentally and physically demanding, and that shouldn’t change.

England’s line-up, however, is destined to be altered. I’d pick Joe Root over Ian Bell to replace Trott at No3 in the batting order and bring in Jonny Bairstow at No6. Bell’s promotion would leave the tourists too short of experience in the middle order, while Bairstow’s relative familiarity with the Test arena is why I prefer him to Gary Ballance and Ben Stokes. This is not a series to blood new players.

Despite a heavy defeat in Brisbane, I still expect England to win the series. Matches can be lost in a session. That happened to Alastair Cook’s men in the first Test but they haven’t become a bad side overnight – they’ve just given the Aussies a head start.

Andy Lloyd is a former England Test cricketer who has also been captain and chairman of Warwickshire.