Wicketkeeper Jamie Smith set to replace Jonny Bairstow in England Test squad

England are set to drop Jonny Bairstow from their Test side, signalling the start of a new era by handing wicketkeeping duties to newcomer Jamie Smith.

Bairstow won his 100th cap in England’s previous Test, against India in Dharamsala, but a top score of 38 in 10 innings left him vulnerable.

It is understood the selectors have now decided to act, sidelining both Bairstow and fellow gloveman Ben Foakes ahead of the West Indies series which starts at Lord’s on Jul 10.

Jonny Bairstow walks back to the pavilion
Jonny Baristow struggled for form in India (Mike Egerton/PA)

For Bairstow, who hit a career-high peak of form at the start of the ‘Bazball’ era in 2022, it could signal the end of the road.

Since spending almost a year out of the game recovering from a horrific leg break that left him wondering if he would ever play again, he has struggled to recreate his best form and moved less easily in the field.

His successor, Smith, is not even first-choice keeper at the Kia Oval – where he serves as understudy to Foakes, but makes the side as a specialist batter. The England management, led by director of cricket Rob Key and head coach Brendon McCullum, are excited about Smith’s potential as a destructive force and he fits neatly with the team’s aggressive philosophy.

Jamie Smith hits out against Somerset
Jamie Smith has impressed with the bat for Surrey (John Walton/PA)

He averages 50 in the County Championship this season and caught the eye with a breathtaking knock of 155 in 179 balls against Warwickshire earlier in the campaign. He has already represented his country, playing twice in last year’s low-key ODI series against Ireland.

Durham keeper Ollie Robinson, who has been in even more sparkling form on the domestic circuit with a first-class average of 82.66, can consider himself unlucky to be overlooked.

James Anderson in the field
James Anderson is set to play his final Test (Mike Egerton/PA)

The Lord’s Test also signals a farewell appearance for the retiring James Anderson, with England rebuilding their attack with a view to the 2025/26 Ashes. Chris Woakes is expected to return as a senior seamer in Anderson’s absence, but injuries to the likes of Josh Tongue and Jamie Overton have thinned the ranks.

Matthew Potts has done well before, Gus Atkinson has previously featured in squads and Key has namechecked Nottinghamshire’s Dillon Pennington as one to watch. With Mark Wood liable to be rested following the T20 World Cup and Jofra Archer not yet cleared for red-ball cricket, they will come into the equation.

England used four spinners in India – Jack Leach, Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir – but will revert to just one in their squad at Lord’s.