England coach Trevor Bayliss believes both Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes could be selected as specialist batsmen for this month`s first Test against Pakistan.
The hosts are due to announce on Thursday their squad for the first of a four-Test series at Lord`s starting on July 14.
Buttler lost his Test place to fellow wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow in November while there are doubts over all-rounder Stokes`s fitness to bowl as he recovers from knee surgery following an injury suffered while playing for England against Sri Lanka in May.
Stokes`s worth as a batsman was underlined by his stunning 258 in a Test against South Africa in Cape Town in January while Buttler looked in good touch when making runs during England`s recent 3-0 one-day series win over Sri Lanka, wrapped up in Cardiff on Saturday.
Buttler has not played red-ball cricket this year but Australian Bayliss said after England`s 122-run win in Cardiff: “He could play as a bat, I`m sure… he wouldn`t have any problems at all. I think he could handle it.
“He`s certainly in contention, that`s for sure.”
As for Stokes, Bayliss said: “He`s playing the next four-day game (for Durham) as a batsman and might bowl some short spells, depending on how he`s gone in the last few days in the nets.
“He`s a guy who has made plenty of runs in Test cricket already — he has to be discussed, I`m sure.”
England will have to make at least one change to their top order following number three Nick Compton`s decision to take time out from cricket following a run of low scores in the 2-0 Test series win at home to Sri Lanka.
“Long term, I think Joe Root is our number three,” said Bayliss.
“Rooty would have to want to do it — it`s a big change, and he`s done well at number four.
“But my way of thinking is you put your best batter at number three.”
James Anderson, England`s all-time leading Test wicket-taker, is struggling with a stress fracture of the shoulder blade in his right, bowling arm.