Saturday, June 25, 2022

‘A match made in heaven’: Foakes hails England’s new Test lead

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Ben Foakes is loving life in England’s revamped Test team and believes Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum are a match made in heaven.

Victories over world champions New Zealand at Lord’s and Trent Bridge have made Test cricket cool again after England languished in the rankings after a nightmarish string of defeats.

And wicketkeeper Foakes believes the approach of refreshed England management is proving contagious in the dressing room, with confidence rising after Bairstow and Stokes’ never-ending chase at Nottingham.

“It seems like a match made in heaven,” Foakes said while speaking at the Lord’s Taverners National Table Cricket Final, where he watched nearly 70 young people with disabilities from 10 schools across the country battle their schools for the National Table Cricket title Champion 2022 at the Home of Cricket, Lord’s.

“Brendon is amazing and as characters he and Ben are both such strong leaders.

“Brendon gave a team presentation at the tea break on this last test. It was so inspiring. It was like everyone wanted out there, like they saw everything that could go well. And then of course you saw how Jonny (Bairstow) and Ben played. It seems to be going so smoothly at the moment.

“Obviously, with the score at 2-0, there’s such a relaxed atmosphere. It’s been amazing so far, but I think his positivity helped. I think he and Ben are just such positive guys and they never see the negative or what could go wrong. They just always try to get the victory.

“So, I think it’s just this mentality shift from what could go wrong to anything that could go right. It’s been great so far.”

Foakes has been considered England’s next wicketkeeper for years, but the Surrey star, who made his debut in 2018 before drifting off the side, is hoping to make the gloves his own ahead of Ashes next year.

He has made 11 catches in the series and also contributed with the racquet as England’s new daring style has won over fans starved for 18 months of a Test series success.

However, winning is a habit – and a series at Headingley in fine weather at Leeds is now firmly on Foakes’ radar.

“Obviously it’s been a tough time for English cricket and the Test team,” he added. “I think the brand we’re trying to play will attract fans.

“Being able to perform positively and get those wins is a great start and something we need to continue.

“It’s almost like pushing the boundaries in Test cricket because it’s not really what you expect to see, so I think I was basically a spectator for most of the time and I had a great one Time. And you could see in the crowd that everyone in the ground got loads of satisfaction from being there.

“I think we go into every game to try and win. That energy that Ben and Brendan bring is that we will always try to win this game. We don’t care about anything else. That’s what we’re going to try to do. So it kind of takes away all the distractions. It takes away all worries about criticism and poor performance.

“It’s just that we’re totally focused on winning.”

The Lord’s Taverners impacts the lives of young people facing the challenges of inequality. The charity works across the UK and beyond to provide inclusive and impactful cricket programs that empower young people with disabilities and from disadvantaged communities – come and visit us www.lordstaverners.org

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