Ben Foakes says he will continue to focus solely on his own performances, despite the looming presence of Jonny Bairstow in England’s Test set-up.
England arrived in Sri Lanka with Bairstow as their first-choice wicketkeeper, but an injury picked up in a warm-up during the ODI series saw Foakes called into the side.
The Surrey star enjoyed a dream debut, with a match-winning hundred and solid performance behind the stumps in Galle, as England began the series with a 211-run victory. Although Bairstow was fit to play the second Test, Foakes kept his place in the side at the expense of England’s ODI opener.
An injury to Sam Curran saw Bairstow return for the third Test as a specialist batsman at three, and while he responded with a brilliant first-innings century to help England to a 3-0 series whitewash, the Yorkshireman has made it no secret that he wants to still wear the keeping gloves for his side.
With Jos Buttler, England’s limited-overs wicketkeeper also a fixture in the Test team, England have an abundance of options to call upon. Nevertheless, Foakes intends to hold onto his spot by simply paying attention to his own abilities.
“My personality is such that I generally don’t look at other people,” Foakes told reporters in Colombo.
Jonny Bairstow picks up the Player of the Match award while Ben Foakes takes home the Player of the Series gong.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) November 26, 2018
“If [Joe] Rooty wants me to play then I’ll try my best, but if he doesn’t then that is out of my control. I don’t personally look at outside things and things I can’t control. If I’m asked to play I’ll try and do my best.
“There are a few of us keepers around and there is a bit of competition for places but that is fine, you just try and be the best version that you can be of yourself.”
Despite his natural talent behind the stumps shining through – Foakes’ glovework to England’s spin trio was particularly impressive – the Player of the Series admitted that he found adapting to the local conditions a tough challenge.
Nevertheless, it has been a series to remember for England’s new star, as he helped his side to their first series win in Asia since 2012.
“It has been an unbelievable tour and a brilliant series to be a part of. I don’t think many people would have expected a 3-0 result here looking at what has happened here in the past, but we have managed to achieve it.”