July 25, 2002

Foster hit by injury again

James Foster's second misfortune with injury this season has ruled him out of the remainder of England's Test series against India.

The 22-year-old Essex wicket-keeper broke his left thumb while keeping wicket to John Stephenson in the current Frizzell County Championship match against Glamorgan at Chelmsford. He is expected to be out of action for between four and six weeks.

Foster said: "This is a huge blow for me coming so soon after breaking my arm earlier in the season. The early indications are that I could be out for a while, but we will have a clearer idea once I have seen the specialist tomorrow."

Foster, who was given a central contract by England in the spring, was playing in only his third game for Essex this season, after breaking his arm in the nets in April.

The injury forced him to miss England's Test series against Sri Lanka, as well as the recent NatWest triangular series, allowing Surrey's Alec Stewart to return to England colours. Stewart today made his 119th Test appearance, breaking Graham Gooch's record as England's most-capped player.

Foster's latest setback means he will have precious little cricket before England announce their squads for the ICC Champions' trophy and the Ashes tour of Australia that follows.

Foster was the guest on CricInfo's Norwich Union League live chat feature on Tuesday, when he was asked how his arm was feeling. He replied: "It's pretty much recovered. In the last championship and one-day game the arm was a bit sore. It's good enough to play and it's not 'end of the world' pain. I don't always feel it, and it comes on just through tiredness or weakness in the arm.

"It was obviously a huge disappointment breaking it, and it couldn't have come at a worse time. I missed out on all the good Essex matches like the B&H final, and I missed the chance of playing with England at start of the season. It's been a tough ten weeks out of action, but now I'm raring to go."

Asked if he felt he was close to getting back into the England set-up for the tour to Australia this winter, he said: "At the moment I'm just trying to do well for Essex and I can't afford to look too far ahead into the future. If I do well for Essex I hope that people will take notice and I can get back into contention for England again.

"Obviously an Ashes tour would be marvellous but I can't be wrapped up in that - I've just got to concentrate on each performance now rather than letting that cloud the issue."