Cardiff: Jason Roy is set to be dropped by England for the Champions Trophy semifinals after a string of batting failures, with Jonny Bairstow taking his place at the top of order for the match against Pakistan.
Bairstow took part in England's final practice at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Tuesday, and was one of the first to bat in the nets while Roy was seen fielding on the boundary.
England captain Eoin Morgan began the Champions Trophy by saying that Roy would not be dropped, but his stance has shifted after the opener's scores of 1, 17 and 4 in the group stage. Roy has scored only 51 runs in eight international innings this summer.
"Getting to this stage of the tournament, we need results," Morgan said, "and if that means somebody misses out, it's unfortunate. But for the team's sake, we need to get results. We want to win this tournament."
Morgan didn't confirm the change, but talked up Bairstow's qualities and said he was confident Roy's state of mind wouldn't be affected if he lost his place in the team after two years as its attacking opening batsman.
"We have kept the same policy for two years now," Morgan said. "If somebody does get left out, they're not going to be far from our plans. They're certainly going to be in the same group of players gearing towards the 2019 World Cup."
Bairstow has had to be content with carrying the drinks in this tournament despite being in better form than Roy this season, hitting a team-high 51 in the third ODI against South Africa during the Champions Trophy warmups and a career-high 174 in a one-day competition for Yorkshire on May 3.
He has never opened the batting for England, but is expected to be given the role against Pakistan.
"I think his best attribute, certainly in white-ball cricket over the last year and a half, has been his relentless attitude to score runs regardless of the situation," Morgan said.
"When you have guys sitting on the sideline, they can get a little bit upset, and that can affect their performance when the actual chance comes along, but that doesn't seem to affect Jonny. I think his all-around ability is as good as we have in this squad, "he added.
Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur is aware of the likely change. "I was particularly worried that Roy hadn't fired yet because I think he's very close to something quite good," Arthur said. "So if he's not playing, that wouldn't be too bad." He then laughed, while saying he wasn't engaging in "mind games."
"The only thing I will say," Arthur added, "I know that Bairstow has opened at county level (but) he's never done it internationally, and I think that's a different ball game, " he added....