England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow has expressed his confidence in the Ashes squad that was announced earlier this week, despite experts claiming it may be weaker than the latest ODI squad that faced the West Indies.
After the controversy of including Jake Ball over Liam Plunkett, some have now veered away from the bowlers and suggested that the latest Test squad may not have the batting strength to compete in Australia this winter.
With question marks over the availability of Ben Stokes due to his latest running with the police, and the possibility that Alex Hales will not be welcomed back into the squad with open arms. The lack of depth in England's batting ranks is a cause for concern.
The Three Lions have lost two of their last three series in Australia 5-0 and there had previously been hopes Root's men would be very competitive against Steve Smith and co. on their home turf as they look to retain the Ashes.
One person who does not feel this is the case is Jonny Bairstow.
The Yorkshire star feels he will be going into the next Test full of confidence as he personally enjoyed a wonderful ODI series against the West Indies.
With two centuries under his belt, the 28-year-old wants to push on and achieve even more and thinks his England team-mates can do the same.
When questioned about the Test side's strength in depth, Bairstow mounted a fierce defence of the middle order.
"If you actually look at it there's 50 first-class hundreds at six, seven, eight and nine so I don't know if you're classing that as weak," he said.
"Do please let me know another side in the world that's got 50 first-class hundreds in those three or four batting positions. That's been a strength of ours over a period of time and will continue to be.
"We're very fortunate to have all-rounders in those positions, whether that be in one-day cricket, T20 cricket or Test cricket."
He added the importance of the teaming needing to "learn quickly" but also stressed the fact the team will not be formed and be the finished article over-night.
Is Bairstow right? Do England have enough strength to compete against Australia or will they need more firepower? Let us know in the comments below!
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