Jonny Bairstow to replace injured Kevin Pietersen
England cricket: Jonny Bairstow to replace Kevin Pietersen
Jonny Bairstow is set to replace Kevin Pietersen in the England side for the final test in New Zealand, Alastair Cook has confirmed.
With Pietersen ruled out due to injury, Cook has admitted that losing him will be a hinder to their chances.
"Obviously, it's a blow when you lose on of your senior batters and a guy who's performed consistently well for us over a number of years," Cook told the ECB official website.
"He's a great player, and will be missed. But it gives an opportunity to Jonny Bairstow coming in.
After making his debut against West Indies last summer, Bairstow will make his sixth Test appearance for England and will be looking to build on the two 50s he has currently scored.
Cook, however, wants Pietersen back as quickly as possible and is hopeful that the injury is not serious.
"It's important he's fit as soon as he can be. Obviously, it's a blow when you lose on of your senior batters and a guy who's performed consistently well for us over a number of years," he added.
"If the injury is not so bad, as we hope, and no operation is needed then on the plus side he gets a bit of time off and is ready to go for the Ashes.
"We've just got to have a bit of luck without he scan in a couple of days time."
The captain also revealed that Pietersen wanted to play in the final Test and that it's not unusual for players to play despite not being fully fit.
"He felt he could get through the game and produce good enough performances to justify his selection," the opener continued.
"There are quite a lot of sportsmen who play when they're not 100 percent fit. Injuries are part and parcel of international sport."
With the series locked at 0-0, England will be hoping for good weather when they start the series finale on Friday in Auckland.