Hopes of Champions Trophy start for Yorkshire's in-form Jonny Bairstow look bleak, admits England captain Eoin Morgan

IT looks increasingly likely that Yorkshire's Jonny Bairstow will be on the sidelines for the start of England's Champions Trophy campaign '“ regardless of how well he continues to play between now and then.

Yorkshire's Jonny Bairstow was in blistering form against Ireland. Picture: PA.

It was Bairstow’s blistering, unbeaten 72 from 44 balls at Lord’s on Sunday - including 22 from the last five deliveries he faced - which put England out of sight, after captain Eoin Morgan and fellow Yorkshireman Joe Root also hit 50s.

But when pondering England’s plans for next month’s Champions Trophy on home soil, Morgan appears to see Bairstow’s initial role in the mini-World Cup as cover for others in the 15-man squad.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Bairstow was disappointed to lose the wicketkeeping gloves to Sam Billings against Ireland, in the absence of Jos Buttler at the Indian Premier League, but responded by continuing his compelling form as a batsman.

Even so, with Buttler, Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes due back from India next week in time for three one-day internationals against South Africa, it seems the Yorkshireman’s patience will be tested again.

And Morgan admitted it is hard to see a position for Bairstow in a stellar limited-overs line-up. At full strength, England’s top six is already inked in.

“It is looking like that at the moment - which is unfortunate for him,” said the captain.

The Irishman is wary too of listing a specialist batsman at number seven, where he may rarely have sufficient opportunity to make a significant contribution.

RIGHT MAN: Jonny Bairstow (left) is congratulated by Moeen Ali after his 50 during a one-day international at Headingley last year. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Pictur: Richard Sellers/PA.

“You can’t guarantee how often he would be used,” added Morgan.

“We’ve a really strong batting line-up, particularly when Stokes, Woakes and Buttler come back in. I’m not sure about justifying an out-and-out batter at seven.

“The number of balls faced at seven, the spread is very small. Over the course of 10 games, if he faces 40 balls in one (of them) is he going to win you a game?

“Or could your all-rounder do the same job, get you up to a par score - and then contribute with the ball?”

RIGHT MAN: Jonny Bairstow (left) is congratulated by Moeen Ali after his 50 during a one-day international at Headingley last year. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Pictur: Richard Sellers/PA.