Ben Foakes

Ben Foakes

Player Bio

Benjamin Thomas Foakes, born on February 15, 1993, in Colchester, Essex, is a name that has resonated with cricket enthusiasts, especially those who have a keen eye for wicketkeeping prowess. Often described as a wicketkeeper first and a batsman second, Foakes has managed to carve a niche for himself in the competitive world of cricket. His excellence behind the stumps for Surrey quickly earned him the reputation as one of the best glovemen in the country, a title he cemented after securing his spot in the Surrey side in 2016.

His journey in the cricketing world has been nothing short of remarkable. From his debut days to his rise in the international arena, Foakes has showcased not just his impeccable skills as a wicketkeeper but also his ability to wield the bat with finesse. His debut in the Test arena for England against Sri Lanka in the 2018-19 series was a testament to his batting capabilities. He marked his entry with a classy hundred in Galle, and his wicketkeeping, especially to the spinners, was almost flawless, contributing significantly to England's 3-0 series win.

Early Life and Entry into Cricket

The world of sports was not unfamiliar to the Foakes household. Ben is the son of the former football referee, Peter Foakes. Peter played a pivotal role in nurturing his son's interest in sports. However, tragedy struck young Ben when his father passed away suddenly when he was just 13. But the seeds of passion for sports, especially cricket, had already been sown.

Foakes' cricketing journey began in Essex, where he was identified as a promising wicketkeeper-batsman. From a tender age, he was earmarked as a potential prospect for England. However, the presence of James Foster, another prodigious talent, meant that opportunities were limited. Recognising the need for growth and more opportunities, Foakes made a pivotal decision to move to Surrey at the end of 2014. This move proved to be a turning point in his career. He realised that while batting for Essex motivated him, it was his work on wicketkeeping, especially under the guidance of Bruce French in England's age-group sides, that truly ignited his passion.

Foakes' talent was evident even in his youth. He was a regular feature in England's youth teams and was the leading run-scorer for England in the 2012 U-19 World Cup. His impressive 93 on his Championship debut earlier that summer was a sign of things to come. Recognising his potential, he was selected for the England Lions' tour of Australia in 2012-13. This tour provided him with invaluable experience and also won him an admirer in the form of Andy Flower, who was then en route to New Zealand for England's series.

By the time Foakes solidified his position as Surrey's primary wicketkeeper, he had already made a mark in the domestic circuit. His consistent performances, both behind the stumps and with the bat, made him a force to reckon with. Whether it was his career-best 141 not out against Hampshire or his ability to play long, attritional innings, Foakes showcased his versatility and solidified his reputation as one of the most promising talents in English cricket.

Rise in the Domestic Circuit

Ben Foakes' journey in the domestic circuit is a tale of perseverance, talent, and consistent performances. His initiation into county cricket began with Essex during the 2011 English season.  Foakes made his impression in a first-class encounter against the visiting Sri Lankans at the County Ground in Chelmsford.

 Although he was dismissed for a mere 5 runs in Essex's first innings by Thisara Perera, his skills behind the stumps were evident. He took three catches in that match, two in the Sri Lankans' first innings and one in their second. Recognising his potential, Essex offered him a professional contract that ran until 2013.

However, with limited opportunities due to the presence of another talented wicketkeeper, James Foster, Foakes made a strategic move. In August 2014, he joined Surrey County Cricket Club. This transition was a game-changer for him. At Surrey, Foakes found the platform he needed to showcase his skills and grow as a cricketer. His consistent performances, both with the bat and behind the stumps, made him a mainstay in the Surrey side.

International Debut and Performance

Foakes' consistent performances in the domestic circuit did not go unnoticed. In January of 2011, he played in his first Youth Test matches for England, both of which were against Sri Lanka. 

His talent was further acknowledged when he was named in England's squad for the 2017–18 Ashes series. His major break came in October of 2018 when he was named to England's Test team for the series against Sri Lanka, despite not getting an opportunity to play in the Ashes.

On 6 November 2018, Foakes made his Test debut for England against Sri Lanka. He made an immediate impact, scoring a brilliant 107 in the first innings, helping England reach a competitive total. With this century, he joined an elite list, becoming the 20th batsman for England to score a century on debut in Tests. He was the second English wicket-keeper to achieve this feat after Matt Prior and the fifth keeper-batsman overall.

Foakes' journey in the shorter formats of the game began in 2019. In April of that year, he was added to England's squad for the one-off One Day International (ODI) against Ireland and the one-off Twenty20 International (T20I) against Pakistan. He made his ODI debut for England on 3 May 2019 against Ireland, where he was awarded the man of the match for a stellar performance, scoring 61 not out and taking two catches along with a stumping. His T20I debut followed shortly after, on 5 May 2019 against Pakistan.

His international journey was not without challenges. In February 2021, Foakes played a crucial role in England's away Test series against India. In the second Test in Chennai, he showcased his exceptional skills behind the stumps, making three stumpings. This achievement made him the first English keeper to do so in Asia, equaling the English record for most stumpings in a match. However, a hamstring injury prevented him from playing his maiden home Test series against New Zealand in 2021.

Despite the setbacks, Foakes returned stronger. He played as the first-choice wicket-keeper in both 2022 home Test series against South Africa. His contributions were pivotal, both behind the stumps and with the bat. In the Second Test victory against South Africa, he was lauded by captain Ben Stokes for his seven catches and a match-defining innings of 113 not out. Ben Foakes' journey, both in the domestic circuit and the international arena, is a testament to his talent, dedication, and resilience. His performances have solidified his position as one of the most promising wicketkeeper-batsmen in the English cricketing landscape.

Notable Achievements and Records

Ben Foakes' journey in the cricketing world is adorned with numerous accolades and records that stand as a testament to his prowess both as a wicketkeeper and a batsman.

Century on Test Debut: One of the most significant milestones in Foakes' career was his century on Test debut against Sri Lanka in 2018. Scoring 107 in the first innings, he became the 20th English batsman to achieve this feat. Moreover, he was only the second English wicket-keeper, after Matt Prior, to score a century on debut, making him the fifth keeper-batsman globally to do so.

Stumping Record in Asia: During England's 2021 Test series against India, Foakes showcased his impeccable skills behind the stumps. In the second Test in Chennai, he made three stumpings, becoming the first English wicketkeeper to achieve this in Asia. This performance also equalled the English record for the most stumpings in a single Test match.

Man of the Match on ODI Debut: Foakes' ODI debut against Ireland in 2019 was another highlight of his career. Scoring an unbeaten 61 and contributing significantly behind the stumps with two catches and a stumping, he was awarded the Man of the Match, a rare feat for players on their ODI debut.

Consistent Domestic Performer: Foakes' domestic career is studded with consistent performances. He has been a mainstay for Surrey, with numerous half-centuries and centuries to his name. His career-best score of 141 not out stands out as a testament to his batting capabilities.

Recognition by Peers: Foakes' skills, especially behind the stumps, have often been lauded by his peers and seniors in the cricketing fraternity. His performance in the 2022 Test series against South Africa, where he took seven catches and scored a match-defining 113 not out, earned him high praise from the English captain, Ben Stokes.

Current Status in the Cricketing World

Ben Foakes has firmly established himself as one of the premier wicketkeeper-batsmen in the international cricketing circuit. His technical proficiency, both with the bat and behind the stumps, has made him an invaluable asset for the English cricket team.

First-choice Wicketkeeper: Foakes' consistent performances have cemented his position as England's first-choice wicketkeeper in Test cricket. His ability to adapt to different conditions, especially in the subcontinent, has been a significant advantage for the English side.

Versatile Batsman: Apart from his wicket keeping skills, Foakes has proven himself as a versatile batsman. Whether it's anchoring the innings, playing the role of a rescuer in challenging situations, or accelerating the score, Foakes has showcased his adaptability in various match scenarios.

Training and Adaptation: The COVID-19 pandemic brought about unique challenges for cricketers worldwide. Foakes was among the 55 players who began training ahead of international fixtures starting in England post the pandemic. His inclusion in the training group and subsequent squads indicates the trust and value the English selectors see in him.

Future Prospects: Given his age and the skills he brings to the table, Foakes is expected to be a crucial player for England in the coming years. His performances in the domestic circuit for Surrey and his consistent showings in international cricket hint at a promising future. With the right opportunities and continued hard work, Foakes might well be on his way to becoming one of England's cricketing legends. Ben Foakes' journey in the cricketing world is a blend of talent, hard work, and resilience. His achievements and records speak volumes about his capabilities, and his current status in the cricketing world is a reflection of his dedication to the sport. As he continues to represent England on the global stage, fans and cricket enthusiasts can look forward to many more match-winning performances from this talented cricketer.

Ben Foakes, in his relatively short yet impactful career, has already left an indelible mark on the cricketing world. His journey, from the domestic circuits of Essex and Surrey to the grand stages of international cricket, is a testament to his dedication, skill, and passion for the game.

His legacy is not just about the records he's set or the accolades he's received, but it's also about the impact he's had on the game and its followers. As a wicketkeeper, Foakes has redefined the role in modern cricket, showcasing that it's not just about flashy stumpings or diving catches but also about understanding the nuances of the game, reading the bowler, and being a step ahead of the batsman.

Furthermore, as a batsman, he has demonstrated that a wicketkeeper need not be just a tailender or a flashy hitter. Instead, they can be technically sound, reliable, and capable of playing match-defining innings under pressure. His century on Test debut and his consistent performances in the domestic circuit underline this fact.

Foakes' impact on the game goes beyond the numbers. He serves as an inspiration for young cricketers, especially those who don the gloves, showcasing that with hard work, dedication, and a never-give-up attitude, one can achieve greatness. As he continues his journey, the cricketing world eagerly awaits more from this prodigious talent. His legacy, still in the making, promises to be one of resilience, excellence, and unwavering commitment to the sport.

When did Ben Foakes make his Test debut for England?
Ben Foakes made his Test debut for England on 6 November 2018 against Sri Lanka.
Has Ben Foakes scored a century on his Test debut?
Yes, Ben Foakes scored a century (107 runs) on his Test debut against Sri Lanka in 2018.
Which county cricket teams has Ben Foakes played for?
Ben Foakes has played for Essex and later moved to Surrey County Cricket Club.
Did Foakes receive any special recognition during his ODI debut?
Yes, during his ODI debut against Ireland in 2019, Foakes was awarded the Man of the Match for scoring 61 not out and his contributions behind the stumps
What is one of Foakes' notable wicketkeeping records in Asia?
In the 2021 Test series against India, Foakes made three stumpings in a single match, becoming the first English wicketkeeper to achieve this feat in Asia.