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

The wicketkeeper praised Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum after England took a 2-0 lead in their series against New Zealand

<p>Ben Foakes with new captain Ben Stokes during a nets session</p>

Ben Foakes with new captain Ben Stokes during a nets session

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

Wins over world champions New Zealand at Lord’s and Trent Bridge have made Test cricket cool again after a nightmare run of defeats left England languishing in the rankings.

And wicketkeeper Foakes believes the approach of England’s refreshed management is proving infectious in the dressing room, with confidence soaring after Bairstow and Stokes’ run chase for the ages in Nottingham.

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

“Brendon’s amazing and as characters, both Ben and him are such strong leaders.

“Brendon gave a team talk at the tea break in that last Test. It was so inspirational. It was like everyone wanted to get out there, like they saw everything that could go right. And then, obviously, you saw the way Jonny [Bairstow] and Ben played. It just seems to be going so smoothly at the moment.

“Obviously, at 2-0 up, there is such a relaxed vibe in there. It’s been amazing so far, but I think that’s helped by his positive attitude. I think him and Ben are just such positive guys, and they never see the negatives or what could go wrong. They’re just always trying to achieve the win.

“So, I think it’s just that shift in mindset going from what could go wrong to everything that could go right. It’s been awesome so far.”

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

He has taken 11 catches in the series and contributed with the bat too, as England’s new swashbuckling style has won over fans starved of a Test series success for 18 months.

However, winning is a habit – and a series whitewash at Headingley, with the weather set fair in Leeds, is now firmly on Foakes’ radar.

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

“To be able to put positive performances in and to start to get those wins is a great start and something that we have to continue.

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

“I think we go into every game to try and win. That energy that Ben and Brendan bring is that we’re always going to try and win this game. We don’t worry about anything else. That’s what we’re going to be looking to do. So, it kind of takes away all the distractions. It takes away all your worries about criticism and not doing well.

“It’s just we have a pure focus 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 programmes, empowering young people with disabilities and from disadvantaged communities – visit www.lordstaverners.org

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in