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Bumble's Blog: 'England should pick Bairstow and Buttler in Tests'

David Lloyd talks arm wrestling and Shakespeare, plus Roberts Croft and Key...

Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow
Image: Bumble wants Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow in the same England Test XI

David Lloyd on why Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow should both be in England’s Test XI and which of his mates could tread the boards in a Shakespeare play…

The county cricket season is well underway - so, naturally, I have been thinking about arm wrestling!

I want to see the old Indoor League back on telly, a show Fred Trueman used to present which saw people play billiards, skittles, darts and shove ha'penny as well as arm wrestle.

I'd love to present it and I'd do it with either Michael Vaughan or Andrew Flintoff. It's got gold written all over it!

Jonathan Trott of Warwickshire plays to the offside during his first senior appearance since the tour of Australia
Image: Jonathan Trott scored an unbeaten 219 for Warwickshire against Middlesex

Heading outdoors, there are a number of players who have taken advantage of some lovely weather and got into nick with the bat in the County Championship.

Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Sam Robson and Alastair Cook - the latter in old helmet and new - have racked up runs, as have Yorkshire's Jonny Bairstow, Adam Lyth and Liam Plunkett.

The misfortune of James Taylor means the time could now be right to get Bairstow and Jos Buttler back in the same England Test XI - that's what I would like to see, sooner rather than later.

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Bairstow could slot in at No 5, allowing Buttler to keep wicket and come in at No 7 after Ben Stokes, giving England a really exciting and powerful middle order.

Alex Hales, Cape Town
Image: Bumble expects England to keep faith with Alex Hales

I think England will stick with Alex Hales opening the batting as they tend to want an aggressive player up the top of the order.

The penny will drop with Hales as to what Test cricket is all about and I'm sure he will make the transition from the one-day game, though England should keep an eye on Lyth, a fabulous player.

I reckon there is a spot at No 3 going, so someone like James Vince, who has just scored a century against Yorkshire at Headingley, has every chance of pushing Nick Compton.

The intrigue is that if you asked Hales where he'd prefer to bat, he'd probably say No 3, but I just think Trevor Bayliss has earmarked him for a spot alongside Cook.

Lancashire head coach Ashley Giles has extended his contract until the end of 2018
Image: Lancashire coach Ashley Giles has extended his contract until the end of 2018

Lancashire have struggled during their recent spells in Division One but have every chance of staying up this year having just beaten a Nottinghamshire side with a damn good attack of Stuart Broad, Jackson Bird, Harry Gurney and the ever-improving Jake Ball.

My old club know they have a lot of work to do this summer but Ashley Giles is a really good coach and the base looks strong with Glen Chapple still knocking about and Steven Croft as captain - they are a county with leadership.

Leicestershire also got a good Championship win this week, at Glamorgan - a club I always keep an eye on due to my Welsh ancestry and the fact Robert Croft is a really good pal of mine.

I hope Robert succeeds as head coach as he is a Welsh through to the bone, not to mention a proper bard. Speaking of bards…

It is Shakespeare Week, of course, as we celebrate his 400th - the Queen, at 90, is a mere whippersnapper compared to him!

Anyway, I have a pal called Count Arthur Strong, a retired music-hall entertainer from Doncaster, who I think could get into the Royal Shakespeare Company and play 'Arth-ello', possibly alongside Desmond Haynes-demona!

Key confirms retirement
Key confirms retirement

Kent batsman calls time on his career

Another mate of mine, Rob Key, called time on his cricket career this week. He has been a terrific player for Kent, while he is also a great lad and a bloody good broadcaster - he's someone you want to be around.

I got the same felling about Victoria Wood, who passed away this week - she was a great, sharp and clever comic and a wonderful sitcom actress, but also seemed like a thoroughly nice lady.

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