Ben prepares to be patient

PATIENCE will be the name of the game for promising Essex wicket-keeper and batsman Ben Foakes.

The 18-year-old Academy player knows he must be prepared to bide his time if he is to don the gloves in the first team.

Standing in his way is James Foster, who is not only the outstanding wicket-keeper in the country but also the current Essex captain.

Foakes, who has played for Frinton in the Two Counties Championship and for Clacton in the East Anglian Premier League, also faces competition from Adam Wheater, who is three years his senior.

However, he is hoping that if he performs consistently in the 2nd XI this season he may earn his chance in the first team as a batsman.

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Foakes said: “With James Foster here it is going to be difficult to break through with the gloves but I hope to get a couple of games in the county championship as a batsman this season. That would be ideal for me.

“Obviously I want to keep, but with someone like James Foster it is tough for me at the moment, so I will have to wait for and earn my chance.”

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Foakes is only too happy to learn from Foster, who he described as “The best wicketkeeper in the country by far – his glove work is way above that of anyone else.”

He welcomed the opportunity to work alongside the former England keeper at the start of the season.

“I went on the pre-season tour to Barbados and I was able to train with him most days and he really helped me.

“The dedication and natural ability that he has and some of the drills I have been able to pick up from him have really helped me,” he said.

Foakes, who had previously represented England at Under-17 level, was on the Under-19 tour to Sri Lanka in the winter, playing in the two Tests in Galle and Colombo that were both drawn and three of the five one-day internationals.

He opened the innings and scored an undefeated 69 as England won the final ODI by seven wickets, although Sri Lanka won the series 3-1.

He said: “The conditions were very tough to play in, and they have got some players with real natural flair, but it was a good challenge to play in the heat and on the flat pitches.

“I got 46 in the first Test match and 69 not out in the last one-day international, which we won.

“I was obviously quite happy about that considering the style of bowling they had with the variations of spin which was quite tough to overcome.”

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