Ben Foakes won’t spend energy worrying about England future

By Sports Desk March 30, 2024

Ben Foakes will not lose sleep over whether he features in England’s Test plans for this summer.

The Surrey wicketkeeper was back in the England XI for the winter tour of India and once again impressed with his skills behind the stumps, but failed to register a fifty in 10 innings during the 4-1 loss.

Foakes has been in and out of the team since his 2018 Test debut and missed last year’s Ashes after Jonny Bairstow was given keeping duties.

The wicketkeeper berth is seemingly up for grabs ahead of home series with the West Indies and Sri Lanka this summer, but Foakes, who scored 205 runs at an average of 20.5 in India, is relaxed about his position.

“I haven’t been told anything,” Foakes said.

“Obviously the more years I’ve got into my career, the more I’ve been in and out, I’ve almost come to an acceptance that it has been the case and not try to worry about it or stress too much about getting a long run or external stuff.

“India, first and foremost, I took as just trying to really enjoy it. I think the more times you get dropped, the more times you realise you don’t know how long you’ve got left or whatever it might be.

“So while you’re out there, rather than stress too much about the game or this might be my last chance, just enjoy the fact you are playing and you don’t know how long for essentially.”

The series started with a high for Foakes, who shared a crucial 112-run partnership with Ollie Pope in England’s remarkable first Test win in Hyderabad.

A number of other starts with the bat were made by the 31-year-old, but he often batted with the tail and expressed his disappointment after failing to “kick on” during his 47 in Ranchi.

Foakes added: “I felt like I kept pretty well, keeping felt good. To start off, I didn’t feel amazing with the bat and then, yeah, disappointed in a couple of innings that I didn’t kick on.

“Again, that role of batting lower down, batting with the tail, the more I do it, the more I look at it as how many times can I impact?

“Because some series you might not get an opportunity to go big, big for example, so it is very crucial when you do get a chance to try and really kick on, which I was disappointed in the fourth Test where I could have kicked on and didn’t.

“(I’m) still evolving and trying to learn with the tail and how to manage those sort of situations.”

While Foakes bats at seven for England, he has gained the majority of his success for Surrey as one of their top-five batters, which has contributed towards a first-class average of 38.52.

Foakes will aim to be back in the runs next week when Surrey begin their Vitality County Championship title defence with a trip to Lancashire, but he acknowledged the uncertainty over his England place provides one dilemma.

“Every summer in the past, I’ve not known whether I will play so I’ve played every (Surrey) game,” Foakes said.

“I did look at the Test schedule and there would be the chance to play 28 Tests and Champo (games) if I did play from the start of India until the end of New Zealand, obviously depending on selection.

“If that was the case and I did play, that is quite a lot of cricket so there would be potential to have a rest, but again it depends on what they’re looking at. Whether I am likely to play or not and then reassess.”

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