Ben Foakes Returns To England Squad For India Tests As Specialist Keeper
By CricShots - Jan 24, 2024 1:05 pm
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Despite being one of England’s premier keepers, Ben Foakes often played second fiddle to Jonny Bairstow throughout his career. His breakthrough came in 2022 when he stepped up in Bairstow’s absence, delivering impressive performances, including a century against South Africa in Manchester. Despite his contributions, Foakes found himself excluded from the Ashes 2023 squad.

Ben Foakes

However, with Harry Brook unavailable for the India series due to personal reasons, the 30-year-old Foakes is set to make a comeback to the national team. Bairstow will focus on his batting role, creating an opportunity for Foakes to assume wicketkeeping duties. This decision is crucial for the Ben Stokes-led side, as Foakes’ experience behind the stumps is valuable in India’s spin-friendly conditions.

Stokes highlighted Foakes’ unique abilities, emphasizing that he can execute tasks that other keepers might struggle with. He described Foakes as a “very special talent” and emphasized the potential impact of his skills on the series.

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“He can not only do things other keepers can’t, but also make them look incredibly easy. He’s a very special talent behind there and having someone like that who can maybe take a 2%, 3% chance, that could be massive in the series,” Ben Stokes expressed in an interview with BBC.

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes

Stokes also expressed satisfaction with Tom Hartley’s development in recent weeks. The all-rounder praised Hartley’s bowling style, characterized by a challenging pace that makes it difficult for batsmen to read. There are reports suggesting that Hartley might get an opportunity in the first Test in Hyderabad, especially with Shoaib Bashir ruled out. If selected, Hartley is likely to partner with Jack Leach, with Joe Root serving as the third bowling option.

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“Tom is someone who’s very tall. He bowls at a very difficult pace to be able to handle out here. He’s someone who gets a lot of natural variation which, in India, is sometimes the hardest thing to face where you’ve got two of the same ball, ball after ball, and one turns square and then one could skid on and pick up pace,” Ben Stokes elaborated on Hartley’s bowling attributes.