Oliver Benjamin Cox
February 02, 1992, Wordsley, Stourbridge, Worcestershire
Right hand bat
Ben Cox had developed into Worcestershire's Mr Reliable, according to his director of cricket at the time, Steve Rhodes, so it was appropriate that when Worcestershire won the T20 Blast for the first time in 2018 (Rhodes by then coaching Bangladesh) that Cox produced the matchwinning innings against Sussex in the final, finishing the affair with a six.
Regarded as one of the neatest keepers in county cricket, Cox has never quite amassed the weight of runs to win England recognition, but his high standards did temper the wicketkeeping ambitions of Joe Clarke, his team-mate and one of the brightest batting stars in the country, who was emphatic that although he was playing for Worcestershire as a specialist batsman he had not abandoned his commitment to the gloves. Clarke departed for Nottinghamshire to pursue his England ambitions in 2018 but even then Cox faced fresh competition from Alex Milton, who had recently made a century on Championship debut.
Cox' ambitions were clear: "I want to be the next James Foster," he said at the end of 2016. "After he retires, I want to be the best keeper in the country. I want that tag. He has been the best for years. He is still phenomenal."
Cox made headlines in 2009 after he was plucked out of his A-level classes at Bromsgrove School to make his first-class debut aged 17. He signed a four-year deal at Worcestershire in 2009 and became the first-choice wicketkeeper half-way through the 2010 season. But he made only one half-century and after struggling in the first four matches of the 2011 season, it became apparent that Cox's promotion had come too soon and he was replaced by another Ben - Scott, who came initially on loan from Middlesex.
After initially impressing, Scott slumped in 2012 and was released at the end of the season, with Cox retaking the gloves for the final three matches of a terrible campaign in which Worcestershire were relegated. But if he thought he was likely to go uncontested as keeper, he was to be disappointed when Worcestershire signed Australian-born Michael Johnson ahead of the 2013 season. While Johnson limited Cox's chances in 2013, he was released at the end of the season providing Cox a clear run at the position in 2014.
Cox responded in fine style. With his keeping substantially improved, he impressed against the spin of Saeed Ajmal and recorded a maiden first-class century against Hampshire to help his side achieve an unexpected promotion. He sustained that improvement over the next two seasons, developing a reputation as one of the best keepers on the county circuit and an aggressive batsman who was good enough to register another century and five half-centuries during a 2015 Division One Championship campaign in which he averaged 37.04 and was one of the bright spots in a relegation year.
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