Bairstow set for England chance
England look set to jettison an experienced batsman to get Jonny Bairstow in the team for the first ODI against India.
Last Updated: 13/10/11 5:49pm
Alastair Cook admits England have a selection headache for the opening one-day international against India in Hyderabad on Friday.
One of the established frontline batsmen looks set to make way for in-form youngster Jonny Bairstow, who hammered an unbeaten 104 off 53 balls in the final warm-up fixture.
Yorkshireman Bairstow, 22, who also marked his ODI debut with a match-winning 41 not out from 21 balls against India at Cardiff in September, has made a compelling case for his inclusion.
The only feasible alternatives to miss the series opener, therefore, are Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen or Jonathan Trott - a trio with 261 ODI caps between them.
Since Pietersen's role was already being publicly factored into England's gameplan by captain Cook at his press conference on Thursday, and Trott's career statistics are so impressive, Bell is the obvious fall guy.
"What a great position to be in," said Cook. "It's not just this 15 - there are other players who are pushing as well.
"As a captain and as a coach to select a side, you want these headaches.
"Yes, they are headaches and it's going to be a tough call. But you would rather have to make that call."
Quizzed specifically on the whys and wherefores of selecting Bell or Pietersen, Cook answered carefully - yet seemed already to have given the game away when he nominated who will bat at number three in variable circumstance.
"The answer is trying to pick a side that has the best chance to win a game - and that's what we will do," he said.
"Between any of the 15, that's the idea.
"In the Sri Lanka series, I can't remember whether I was the pinch-hitter or Kiesy [Craig Kieswetter]. But KP goes in (at three) if Kiesy gets out, and that's what we did then."
India are still missing a clutch of injured superstars, including Sachin Tendulkar, at a ground where they have often faltered themselves.
But their captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni believes there have been glimpses of a successful future for the World Cup holders, despite coming into the series on the back of a 3-0 series loss to the same opponents in England.
"The performance of the batsmen was very impressive in England, especially in the ODI series," said Dhoni.
"We have a different set of bowlers, who will get an opportunity in home conditions to show what kind of talent they have.
"Most of them have IPL experience, so they have a fair idea of what needs to be done when the batsman is going after them.
"It's very difficult to replace the senior players, but most of the youngsters are very talented."