Ben Foakes Entering a Strange Domain: Caribbean 2022

Ben Foakes finally gets a nod as the first choice keeper for England.

After being dubbed as the best Wicket-keeper in England, Ben Foakes didn’t get too many opportunities to live up the expectations set on him. He made a wonderful debut in Sri Lanka, keeping in difficult conditions and scoring priceless runs as England whitewashed Sri Lanka. His efforts won him a man of the series award on debut, but Foakes couldn’t build on a dream start.

With Buttler and Bairstow, Foakes didn’t get the gloves that often but now with Buttler dropped after a tough Ashes, Jonny Bairstow taken as a batter and Sam Billings removed after a solitary Test, Ben Foakes finds himself as the first choice keeper.

He only played eight Tests since debut, and three of them came during England’s recent tour of India. With Buttler out of the last three Tests, Foakes got a long awaited opportunity, but struggled to live up to the standards he set in Sri Lanka. His keeping was still good, but the batting wasn’t noticeable with the entire English team struggling.

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Up until now, Ben Foakes has only come in as a replacement, which is why he is only eight Tests old. However, with England opting for a complete reset, Ben Foakes, the best keeper in the country, makes a return, and may be given a longer rope this time around. This is his second time in the Caribbean. He went with England last time around, and got the gloves in a side which had both Bairstow and Buttler. Ben Foakes however couldn’t translate his form in Sri Lanka.

Facing pitches which are faster, Foakes struggled and made only 55 in four innings, before losing the gloves. He was dropped, and only got a chance in India with Buttler out on rotation. To add to his bad luck, Ben Foakes was to take the gloves against New Zealand at home, but couldn’t due to a freak injury. Bairstow and Buttler just got back from India and Foakes was a sure starter with the gloves, but ended up being unavailable.

His tough luck continued as Foakes was in Australia when England were taking a drubbing in the Ashes. He was playing for the England Lions, made decent runs and could have well made a surprise entry into the Ashes squad. The return though wasn’t meant to be as Ben Foakes was sent home and Sam Billings was added after England were in need of a keeper. While the presence of Ben Foakes may not have made an impact on the series, it was still an opportunity missed.

Ben Foakes though will finally be getting his chance. With England looking to build their test team again, they are going in with a lot of new talent, and Ben Foakes is one of them, but also has a fair amount of experience. This will be his first series as England’s first choice keeper, unless the selectors throw in some fresh surprises, and Ben Foakes will be eager to live up to the tag of being the best wicket-keeper in the country.

He will be challenged though. After a strong start, Ben Foakes was dropped because of his performance in the Caribbean and he will be making his comeback in the region which saw him get dropped from the side and fall down the pecking order. With Bairstow in the squad and ready to take the gloves at any moment, Ben Foakes will have to be on his toes. England are making their intentions clear to build a Test team around Ben Stokes, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, and Ben Foakes will have to try and either add his name to the list. If he doesn’t the likes of Jonny Bairstow may end up with extra responsibilities.