Jonny Bairstow still hopes he can keep wicket for England in the fourth Test at Southampton despite his broken finger.
It was understood, when England announced their 14-man squad last week, that the best Bairstow could manage here was to play as a specialist batsman as the hosts bid to clinch the Specsavers series by going 3-1 up.
But Bairstow was planning to test the injury with his wicketkeeping gloves on in training at the Ageas Bowl on Tuesday – raising the possibility he, rather than Jos Buttler, may yet be behind the stumps against India.
Bairstow said: “The swelling has gone down. I’m going to try and keep wicket in training this afternoon as well.”
Buttler took over from Bairstow after the Yorkshireman injured his left middle finger, taking a delivery from James Anderson during England’s heavy defeat at Trent Bridge.
The 28-year-old added: “You obviously want to play, so If I’m not able to keep wicket then I would like to think I’ll be a specialist batsman.
“But at the same time I’m desperate to try and keep my place as the wicketkeeper.
“I’m very, very keen to keep my spot as the wicketkeeper – because I would like to think it’s gone pretty well over the last 38/39 Test matches that I’ve been keeping for England.”
England’s Anderson is just six wickets away from McGrath’s mark of 563 ahead of the fourth Test against India on Thursday.
McGrath, who retired in 2007, expects Anderson to surpass his record and that it will then stand the test of time.
He wrote in the Daily Mail: “Jimmy Anderson deserves everything he gets, and even though he is an Englishman I will be delighted for him when he goes past my record and becomes the most prolific fast bowler in Test history.
“Jimmy stands just six wickets away from my tally of 563 so it is only a matter of time now before he gets there – he should do it this week in the fourth Test at Southampton – and I will be getting in touch with him as soon as he does to say well done.
“I have an awful lot of respect for Jimmy. Good luck to him. I believe once he goes past me he will never be beaten.
“Records are nice and I’ve been very proud to have taken more wickets than any fast bowler in Test history, but any high is there to be beaten and I will be equally proud of Jimmy when he goes past me because the fast bowlers’ union has to stick together, whichever country we come from.”
All-rounder Moeen Ali is hoping for a spot in England‘s playing XI after a fine all-round show in the County Championship.
Playing for Worcestershire against Yorkshire, the left-handed batsman cracked a double ton and picked up eight wickets in the match, raising his chances of playing the Southampton Test against India which begins on Thursday.
Ali hasn’t been high on England’s Test priority list since an indifferent tour Down Under and he is therefore keeping his expectations low.
“If I get the nod it will be great, if not then not a problem. I’m just trying to stay in the present,” Ali was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
“I’m playing well and I just want to keep up the form with Worcestershire and hopefully with England as well.”
It was the second successive first-class match in which Ali picked up eight wickets. It has been a remarkable turnaround for 31-year-old as he has fully recovered from the finger injury that bothered him during the Ashes.
“If I get the call, then great, but if not, I hope the guys that are playing do really well.
“For me it’s about preparing to play and if I don’t get the call then obviously I will have to go and play county cricket. I will try to improve and get better in the nets.”