Full name Benjamin Thomas Foakes
Born February 15, 1993, Colchester, Essex
Current age 25 years 68 days
Major teams Colts Cricket Club, England Lions, England Under-17s, England Under-19s, Essex, Essex 2nd XI, Surrey, Surrey 2nd XI
Playing role Wicketkeeper batsman
Batting style Right-hand bat
Fielding position Wicketkeeper
|First-class debut||Essex v Sri Lankans at Chelmsford, Jun 10-12, 2011 scorecard|
|Last First-class||Surrey v Hampshire at The Oval, Apr 20-23, 2018 scorecard|
|List A debut||Victoria v England Lions at Melbourne, Feb 7, 2013 scorecard|
|Last List A||Nottinghamshire v Surrey at Lord's, Jul 1, 2017 scorecard|
|T20s debut||Middlesex v Essex at Lord's, May 17, 2014 scorecard|
|Last T20s||Surrey v Warwickshire at The Oval, Aug 25, 2017 scorecard|
|Bat & Bowl||Team||Opposition||Ground||Match Date||Scorecard|
|46, 3c/0s, 81, 1c/0s||Surrey||v Hampshire||The Oval||20 Apr 2018||FC|
|-||England||v NZ XI||Hamilton||16 Mar 2018||Other|
|3c/0s||England||v NZ XI||Hamilton||14 Mar 2018||Other|
|16, 1c/1s, 20, 0c/0s||Eng Lions||v W. Indies A||Florence Hall||11 Feb 2018||FC|
|18, 2c/0s, 37, 1c/0s||Eng Lions||v Jamaica XI||Kingston||5 Feb 2018||Other|
|2, 0c/0s, 1c/0s||England XI||v CA XI||Perth||9 Dec 2017||Other|
|67||Eng Lions||v Qld XI||Brisbane||27 Nov 2017||Other|
|-||England||v WA XI||Perth||4 Nov 2017||Other|
|10, 1c/0s, 0, 0c/0s||Surrey||v Lancashire||Manchester||25 Sep 2017||FC|
|0c/0s, 26, 1c/0s, 42*||Surrey||v Somerset||The Oval||19 Sep 2017||FC|
In the unstoppable move to the age of the wicketkeeper-batsman, there has been a very obvious compromise: proficiency in front of the stumps has often come at the expense of dexterity behind them. Only a few natural wicketkeepers with a batting pedigree manage to escape that analysis. In Ben Foakes, Surrey - and perhaps one day soon England - imagine they have such a player.
Foakes' inclusion as understudy to Jonny Bairstow in England's 2017/18 Ashes tour party delighted many who still hankered after the world of the nimble gloveman. Alec Stewart, a former England wicketkeeper-batsman of repute, and Foakes' coach at Surrey, proposed him a few months before his call up as the best wicketkeeper in the world and Stewart was not a man for wild pronouncements. Nonetheless, there were protests from India where MS Dhoni had long since gained Godlike status. Gods apart, Foakes, as his England Lions appearances confirmed, was a gem, and a growing proficiency with the bat, which was based on a strong legside game, added to his appeal.
Foakes, the son of the former football referee Peter Foakes, who encouraged his interest in sport, but who died suddenly when he was 13, emerged as a promising wicketkeeper-batsman at Essex, earmarked from an early age as an England prospect, but due to the longevity of James Foster, another one-time prodigy, he left to seek further opportunities with Surrey at the end of 2014. It was a wise choice. He realised that he found it hard to motivate himself when he played for Essex as a batsman, but the moment he got the chance to work on his wicketkeeping with Bruce French in England age group sides his enthusiasm was unbounded.
A regular at age-group level for his country, Foakes was England's leading run-scorer at the 2012 U-19 World Cup, having made 93 on Championship debut earlier in the summer. Picked for the Lions' limited-overs tour of Australia in 2012-13 before making his List A debut, Foakes was Jonny Bairstow's understudy in Sri Lanka the following winter - a role he was used to filling at Essex, with Foster still going strong. He made his maiden first-class and Championship centuries during the 2013 season and, in a mark of England's future planning, was invited to train with the squad and act as 12th man for the first Ashes Test of the summer at Trent Bridge. At 19, with only five first-class matches for Essex, he was selected for the England Lions' tour of Australia at the start of 2013. The tour proved almost as disastrous as the senior tour Down Under later that year, and yet Foakes won a significant admirer: Andy Flower, who was en route to New Zealand for England's series there.
It was another season before Foakes got the gloves fulltime at Surrey, but eventually he ousted Steve Davies, leaving Davies confused as to the exact nature of his ambitions: he left for Somerset at the end of 2016. Gary Wilson, another regular Surrey wicketkeeper, moved to Derbyshire. Foakes averaged 44 in the Championship, including a career-best 141 not out against Hampshire in July to turn Surrey's season. He could be an attritional batsman, as his 59 not out from 235 balls against Middlesex in May of that year testified, but he topped the Royal London Cup averages at better than a run a ball, nothing better than his beautifully-judged 90 against Yorkshire in the semi-final at Headingley.
The following year, he averaged top side of 40 in the Championship but unexpectedly his return in the 50-over competition was even higher as he averaged 96.40, passing 50 in six out of 10 knocks and maintaining a rate of better than a run a ball. Competition among England's wicketkeepers was high, but Foakes edged out Jos Buttler - England's best-known T20 cricketer - as an Ashes tour deputy.