Image courtesy of: Zimbio
England head coach Trevor Bayliss has revealed that all-rounder Moeen Ali may occupy the No. 3 spot on the batting line-up for the foreseeable future.
Bayliss’ announcement comes after Moeen was promoted to No. 3 in the second innings of the fourth Test against India in Southampton.
Bayliss added that the decision to potentially place Moeen at one down stems from the fact that captain Joe Root is more comfortable batting at No. 4.
“Joe has always said he wants to bat at No 4. But I thought it was for the best of the team he batted at three and he understood where I was coming from,” Bayliss was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. “All credit to him. He has taken that role on with no problems. He has taken one for the team in that respect.
“I hope we can find someone who can do a decent job at number three, and he can bat where he feels most comfortable. If we had a No. 3 averaging 50 to allow him to bat at No. 4 that would be handy.
“[Ali] works hard at his game. In the right conditions, I would not put it past him. When Rooty asked him if he was keen to do it, he jumped at it.
“His challenge will be on the faster wickets but we haven’t got any of those for a while. In spinning conditions, he can cover that position pretty well at the moment. He has a chance.”
Meanwhile, Bayliss revealed that Jonny Bairstow is eager to continue being England’s go-to wicketkeeper in the longest format.
Bairstow was replaced behind the stumps by Jos Buttler during the fourth Test due to the fractured finger he sustained while keeping in the third Test in Nottingham.
“He is very keen to keep. He tried it before the match started, but he admitted it was not right to keep,” Bayliss said. “He is one of our better batters, so he was always going to play as a bat if he wasn’t keeping as well – but going forward he wants to keep.
“How he reacts [if Buttler takes the gloves permanently] is for Jonny if it happens down the line. That is the challenge for us, and challenge for anyone who gets one of those strings taken away.”