There were contrasting tales for England's two keepers yesterday. James Foster broke his left thumb playing for Essex in the County Championship match against Glamorgan at Chelmsford, while Alec Stewart featured in a presentation to mark his 119th Test appearance.
Foster, 22, who had only returned to action last week following a two-month lay-off with a fractured forearm, was keeping wicket to John Stephenson when he sustained the injury. An X-ray revealed he had suffered a non-displaced fracture and he is expected to be out for between four to six weeks, although he sees a specialist today for a further assessment.
It means he is certain to miss the ICC Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka from 12 to 29 September because England have to name their 14-man squad by 12 August, however, Foster should be in contention for the Ashes tour to Australia this winter.
Stewart's day was a whole lot better. The 39-year-old was presented with a bat – as he became England's most-capped player – engraved in gold-plate with the number of appearances he has made against each individual Test-playing country. This match is his sixth against India and when he emerged from the Long Room at the fall of the fourth wicket it was to a standing ovation from the crowd, a gesture he acknowledged with a cheery wave of his bat.
"It's been a great week for Stewie," the England captain Nasser Hussain said, "although he would have played it down and been very boring about it. But the ovation shows what the crowd, and the team, think of him."
By then Stewart had probably made in-roads into a special gift, again to mark the occasion, that had arrived at HQ this morning. Sue Clutterbuck, wife of the Guildford groundsman Bill, knowing Stewart is overly fond of bread pudding made some specially for him.
Sue said: "It's just a treat. His mother Sheila makes it for him and sends it to India when he is touring there." His father Micky took the precious pudding up to St John's Wood yesterday and got his son's England team-mate Matthew Hoggard to get it to the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman. "It's his favourite," explained Micky.
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