Bairstow has started the season in fine form, scoring 246 runs for Yorkshire against Hampshire; while comparatively his rival for the England gloves Buttler has been playing in the Indian Premier League.
Prior, who featured in 79 Tests, was criticised in his early international career for his naive glove-work; a similar accusation is currently being levelled at Bairstow – a man good enough to command a batting position regardless of his wicket-keeping.
But for the former Sussex keeper-batsman, Prior, he believes it’s time people got off Bairstow’s back and allow the Yorkshire man to develop his glove-work without constant criticism; he deserves his chance ahead of Buttler.
“Jonny Bairstow is the man with the gloves at the minute and he has started the season brilliantly with a big hundred,” said One Pro Cycling chief executive Matt Prior, speaking at the Tour de Yorkshire.
“I just think it is very healthy for English cricket to have two hugely talented batsmen-wicketkeepers fighting for one position that has got to be a good thing.
“Jonny’s batting was outstanding in South Africa and he proved that he can score hundreds batting at seven, which is vital for any wicketkeeper now in Test cricket.
“There are a couple of areas with his keeping, I’m sure he’d admit, that he needs to improve but I have no doubt he is working hard on them now.
“Jonny Barstow is a very hard worker, he wants to improve and I’m convinced he has a huge future ahead of him in Test cricket.”
Buttler has previously been England’s No.1 wicketkeeper but his performances with the bat against Pakistan in the UAE saw the former Somerset man dropped.
Despite starring for England in limited-overs and T20 cricket since his omission from the Test side; Buttler is still desperate to play the longer-form of the game.
Buttler was granted special permission to miss the start of the County Championship season and go and play in the IPL to further his performances in the shorter-form of the game.
And Prior still believes Buttler has a place in the Test side if he can learn how to adapt and pace his innings.
“At the moment the IPL is where it’s at, it was a decision he made and he was supported by the ECB, so that is what he is doing,” said Prior.
“Of course he will want to be pushing hard to get back into the Test team, and for him to do that he is going to have to be working hard on his keeping.
“He also needs to be keeping wicket in Championship cricket, but I think there is time for that.
“I think more importantly is that it wasn’t his keeping that was the issue, I think his keeping has gone from strength to strength, it was just finding a process, method and a rhythm with his batting that would work in the Test form of the game.” (Courtesy somersetcountygazette)