England’s Ben Foakes on Sunday said he finds it challenging to concentrate while standing up to spinners on turning tracks in the sub-continent but it’s something that he will be looking forward to during the four-Test series against India. With first-choice keeper Jos Buttler heading home after first Test as part of England’s rotation policy, Foakes will potentially have the chance to keep in the second Test before Jonny Bairstow joins the squad for the final two games. “The difficulties in Sri Lanka or Asia in general is to stand up for long periods of time and having to concentrate, knowing that the bowl is going to spin sharply so you have to be on the ball to react to it, Foakes said during a virtual media interaction on Sunday.
Due to low bounce in the subcontinent pitches, a keeper stands closer to the wicket as compared to in the west. As a result, there is less reaction time and everything has to move far quicker, which is physically very demanding.
“Standing back is also very challenging… To cut down the reaction time is a real challenge and I find it hard standing back out in Asia,” he said.
The 27-year-old earned a recall to the national Test side after two years and Foakes said he is excited and to play against a top side like India.
“All the emotions, a bit of nerves, a lot of excitement and anticipation of playing in India. It is an incredible place to be able to play and obviously they have star-studded batting line up in a country that’s so passionate about cricket. To get an opportunity out here would be amazing,” Foakes said.
Foakes had notched up a century on his Test debut in Sri Lanka in 2018 while also affecting four dismissals with some silky glovework. The Surrey cricketer said he is aware of the challenges of playing in the sub-continent.
“Ya, I have spent a lot of time in the sub-continent and had a bit of success in Sri Lanka series a couple of years ago.
“I feel like I know the challenges that arise, obviously India is a lit bit different, a few different things to concern yourself with. But before start to work that I’ll speak to guys like Root who have played here and done well.
Despite a dream debut Foakes has featured in only five Tests. In the 2019 tour of West Indies, he struggled with the bat. Since then he has found himself slipping down in the pecking order behind the “world-class” Buttler and Jonny Bairstow.
“Jos has been amazing, he is obviously a world class player. It is always one of those tricky things as a specialist keeper you never know what’s going to happen whether it’s a day before the game, week before.
“The current set up of this English side, there is so much competition. You have got a few guys who are established in the team who are world class cricketers.”
Foakes understands only extra-ordinary performance will assure him a permanent place in the playing XI.
“You have to accept that you are not going to get the long rope unless you nail every game. It’s something you have to deal with and perform when you get a chance,” he signed off.