Audio: Wicket-keeper James Foster after a fast start as Essex aim for County Championship promotion
- Credit: Su Anderson
Wicket-keeper James Foster says a fast start is more important than ever for Essex as they bid to win promotion from division two of the County Championship.
Wicket-keeper James Foster says a fast start is key for Essex as they bid to win promotion from division two of the County Championship.
The Chelmsford-based side have finished third in the competition for the last three years, missing out on promotion by a single place on each occasion.
Now the job of breaking into the four-day elite is harder than ever, with just the second division winners earning promotion and two sides coming down as part of an ECB restructure.
That, given the fact Essex start their season with five-straight Championship games before one day cricket begins, means Foster believes his side need to come out the blocks quickly.
“I’m always excited, the season seems to have snuck round the corner but we start off against Gloucestershire on Sunday and we’ve got a busy period of four-day cricket,” he said.
“It’s great to start that off with a full squad to pick from.
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“As a team we want to get going quickly which is really important, especially in four-day stuff, because we play a lot of four-day cricket early on and we want to be at the head of the pack really.
“You can say at the start of the season what you want to do but ultimately it’s about producing the goods out there.
“There’s going to be huge competition, as there always is, but teams will be fighting for just one promotion place this year and it’s always a tough division to get out of.
“I think we’ve played some really good cricket in the last few years and always seem to come third, so we want to start well. You have to do the simple things well to be able to do that.”
Ryan ten Doeschate (four-day) and Ravi Bopara (limited overs) have taken over the Essex captaincy from Foster, but the 35-year-old is still keen to lend a hand where possible and has backed his two teammates to lead the side well.
“I will of course be keeping an eye out and seeing where I can help the younger players,” he said.
“If I can offer advice here and there, without treading on people’s toes, then of course I would be excited to do that.
“In Ravi and Ryan we have two very experienced guys (captaining the teams). They’re very clued up and have been from a very early age and are two great cricketers and two top fellas.”