England Test captain Ben Stokes heaped praise on wicketkeeper-batter Ben Foakes after the Surrey gloveman’s crucial contribution to his side’s successful run-chase against New Zealand at Lord’s.
The 29-year-old Foakes scored 32 not out in an unbroken 120-run partnership with Joe Root to help England chase down 277 and register just their second win in their past 18 Tests, giving Stokes and Brendon McCullum a victory in their first game in charge of the England men’s Test side.
Foakes was making his home debut at Lord’s three and a half years after his first England Test appearance. His place in the side was under some scrutiny heading into the international summer’s curtain raiser after he experienced an underwhelming tour of the Caribbean earlier this year.
After the Test, Stokes was effusive in his praise for Foakes. “We’re not in the position to not select world-class players at the moment,” said Stokes. “Ben is the best wicketkeeper in the world. That’s not just my own opinion, that’s a lot of people’s opinions. Batting at seven, which he does for England, is different from the role that he plays for Surrey because he bats higher up [for Surrey]. But that situation of going in last night, for 45 minutes, was a very, very big part in the game, and he handled it very, very well.
“The way he kept – he took some catches which he made look very easy but they weren’t. To have a gloveman like Ben behind the stumps gives me a lot of confidence, and it gives the bowlers a lot of confidence, knowing that nine times out of 10, he’s going to take everything that comes to him. He’s only going to get better with the more confidence that he gets, and as I said, he’s the best keeper in the world and it’s great to have him behind the stumps.”