England to call up Surrey's Smith as wicketkeeper

Jamie Smith smiles while wearing a helmet
Jamie Smith has played 58 first-class matches and averages 40.80 with the bat [Getty Images]

England are set to hand a debut to Surrey's Jamie Smith - picking him ahead of Jonny Bairstow and Ben Foakes - when they name the squad for the first Test against West Indies on Sunday.

As reported in the Telegraph, Smith will keep wicket in the first Test at Lord's, beginning on 10 July, despite Foakes being Surrey's first-choice gloveman.

The 23-year-old was England's wicketkeeper in their two one-day internationals against Ireland last September.

He is an exciting batting talent, averaging more than 40 in first-class cricket and in excess of 50 in this season's County Championship. Smith's strokeplay fits in with England's positive style of play and their desire to have an aggressive batter at number seven.

His inclusion is another sign of England's intent to freshen up the Test side, partly with the 2025-26 Ashes series in Australia in mind.

Foakes and Bairstow have traded the gloves since captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum took over in 2022.

Foakes kept wicket on the tour of India earlier this year, with Bairstow playing as a specialist batter. The return of Harry Brook, who missed that tour to be with his ill grandmother, always meant at least one of Foakes or Bairstow would miss out.

Foakes, 31, has played 25 Tests and is arguably the best gloveman in the world. However, he had a highest score of 47 with the bat in India and lacks batting power to counter-attack at the back-end of an innings.

This latest omission could spell the end of Bairstow's Test career, or even his entire run as an international player.

Bairstow, who will be 35 in September, reached 100 Tests in India, but had a highest score of 39 on the tour.

A regular in limited-overs cricket, he may also find himself victim of a regeneration that seems likely to follow England's T20 World Cup semi-final exit and the dismal defence of their 50-over World Cup crown last year.

The change of wicketkeeper comes after England told all-time leading wicket-taker James Anderson that they intend to move on from him this summer.

With 700 wickets, Anderson is the most successful pace bowler in the history of Test cricket, but will retire after the series-opener against West Indies.