Essex stalwart James Foster has announced that he will retire at the end of the 2018 season after his county decided not to renew his contract.
Foster, who has played for Essex since 2000, represented England in seven Tests, 11 ODIs and five T20Is. His last Test appearance came during the 2002/03 Ashes whereas the last time he played for England in any format was during the 2009 World T20.
Whilst never quite establishing himself on the international stage, Foster was always highly regarded as a wicket-keeper and was arguably the best in the world at his craft.
To label Foster as a specialist ‘keeper would be to disregard his more than capable career as a middle-order batsman. Foster scored an impressive 23 first-class hundreds and he was touted for an England Test recall throughout much of his later career.
His crowning moment as a county player came in his penultimate season as he won his first County Championship title at the age of 37. Having lost his place in the side at the start of the season, he worked hard to reclaim the gloves and played a crucial role in his Essex’s first Championship win since 1992.
Was a pleasure to be Cooky’s body guard each morning on the tube, and a privilege to be there throughout the whole of Cooky’s final Test match. Absolute scenes at the Oval #ThankYouChef pic.twitter.com/NkUYzBYhoH
— James Foster (@JamesFoster07) September 12, 2018
Foster’s retirement is unlikely to spell the end of his involvement in the game though as he looks likely to venture into coaching. He has previously worked with England, including during last week’s Oval Test, and is set to join the coaching staff of Big Bash team Sydney Thunder.
In a joint statement between Foster and Essex, he said: “This was a decision I gave great consideration to, knowing the hard work it took me to get back into the side during the 2017 championship winning season, however I felt this was the right thing for me personally as coaching is the direction I want to explore when I eventually finish playing.”