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IND vs ENG | Expected to get a longer rope after Sri Lanka heroics, admits Ben Foakes

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Foakes last played a Test in 2019

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IND vs ENG | Expected to get a longer rope after Sri Lanka heroics, admits Ben Foakes

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SportsCafe Desk

02/01/2021

England wicket-keeper Ben Foakes, who is expected to play the last three Tests versus India, admitted that he expected to get a rope longer than 5 Tests after impressing in his debut outing in Sri Lanka. Foakes further admitted that he is only getting a run of games because Buttler is being rested.

After a Man of the Series showing in his debut Test outing against Sri Lanka in 2018 - a century, a fifty and outstanding glovework - Ben Foakes thought he’d become England’s first-choice wicket-keeper, particularly because his rise coincided with Buttler and Bairstow’s downfall, but the England management had other ideas.

Following a forgettable tour of the Windies in which he averaged 13.75 across two Tests, Foakes was rather harshly axed, with both Buttler and Bairstow overtaking him in the pecking order, post which the wicket-keeper has not played a single Test. 

Two years on, the India series will provide a chance at redemption for the 27-year-old, but the Surrey man admitted that he was shocked by his axing in 2019, and revealed that he expected to get a much longer run.

"Obviously the way I started in Sri Lanka, I did expect to play for longer," Foakes told the media from his hotel-room quarantine in Chennai on Sunday. 

"I did expect to get more of a run at that stage. I guess it's tricky to control your emotions in that sense: I obviously got pretty high with all the things going on then and it gets taken away from you because I didn't get runs in the West Indies. It happened so quickly.

"It's a tricky thing to get your head around I guess. I didn't perform as well as I'd have liked when I went back to Surrey, had a bit of a break from cricket and came back pretty fresh and performed alright.

"I know the strength of competition with the keepers is so high [that] there are going to be times when I'm not playing. That's something I have to accept and be at peace with. If I do get a chance at any stage just try to enjoy it and embrace it, and do as well as I can."

Foakes played three consecutive Tests against Sri Lanka in 2018, and he’ll get a chance to don the whites for an extended period of time once again in a fortnight’s time, with him expected to take wicket-keeping duties over from Buttler for the final three Tests. The three games will be a golden opportunity for the Surrey man to prove his worth, but the 27-year-old admitted that he knows that, ultimately, he is only playing because incumbent Buttler chose to rest.

"I would expect it's probably a case of Jos is the number one, and I'm just seeing these three games as a chance to try and stake my claim and do as well as possible and enjoy playing for England, and enjoy the experience.

"India is an incredible place to play: [they have] a star-studded line-up and a country that is so passionate about the game. To get an opportunity out here would be amazing and something I'm really looking forward to."

Foakes, in many ways, is the dream modern-day wicket-keeper, as he not only is a world-class gloveman, but is also a prolific run-getter with the bat. A team like India, for instance, are struggling to find a Foakes-like wicket-keeper, with both Saha and Pant specializing in only one facet. The 27-year-old, who struck a hundred on debut, gave his take on what an ideal modern-day wicket-keeper should bring to the table. 

"I think you need a blend of both. You can't have someone that can't keep who is scoring loads of runs but makes loads of mistakes, but at the same time, however good a keeper is, they're going to have to contribute with the bat.

"It depends on a few things, like the balance of the side - I suppose if you've got a batting line-up that is banging out 600 every time then you go for a specialist keeper, but if you want a frontline batter then potentially you sacrifice a bit of the keeping ability."

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