IND v ENG 2024: 'Ben Foakes has the quickest hands in game, faster than MS Dhoni'- Alec Stewart

Alec Stewart lauded Ben Foakes' wicketkeeping skills and batting ahead of the third Test.

Ben Foakes | Getty Images

Former England wicketkeeper-batter Alec Stewart was highly impressed with Ben Foakes’ wicketkeeping in the ongoing five-match Test series in India.

Even Stewart believes that England’s current wicketkeeper Foakes’ has the quickest hands in the game than the legendary MS Dhoni, who was known for his swift reflexes behind the stumps.

Foakes won applause for his exceptional wicketkeeping skills during the first two Test matches against India, having done a great job behind the stumps in those conditions that foreign keepers often find challenging.

The England keeper has already taken six catches and executed two stumpings in the ongoing five-match Test series against India. Notably, the third Test will be played in Rajkot on February 15.

Alec Stewart was quoted as saying by The Times, “He does things that no one else can do. His hand speed is second to none. MS Dhoni had quick hands but he (Foakes) has the quickest hands in the game and the ball stays in them.”

Stewart further said, “He's got massive natural talent but his work ethic, and attention to detail, is as good as I've come across both when I played and since I've been in this role. He leaves no stone unturned. He works specifics and the quality of the work is impressive.”

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Speaking about Foakes’ training between Christmas and New Year under his supervision for the India tour, Surrey's director of cricket noted: “He knew there would be a lot of spin bowling so it (his training) was 80-20 in favor of his standing-up stuff, which he's brilliant at anyway - the ball bouncing, the ball turning, the ball keeping low. That's why I was so pleased for him, (after) all the hours he's put in, and then he gets rewarded with some of the catches he took.”

Stewart added, “We'd discuss the position of his feet, the height he gets, where his hands are. He leads it. We used the Merlin spin machine, mats that spin or one with holes cut in them so that some spin and some bounce. We do it from 22 yards, or ten or 11 yards. He knows what he wants to work on and we've done that since he joined us (in 2014 from Essex).”

Hailing his keeping and batting, the former England cricketer said: “I said a while ago he's the best in the world and, but for circumstances, he could be coming up to playing 50 or 60 Tests, but I get the need to balance the side and that's why he's not played more. People should not underestimate his batting.”

Stewart signed off by saying, “He averages just shy of 40 in first-class cricket and when he's played for England he's been involved in some match-winning partnerships. You need to be not only physically fit and strong but mentally fit and strong. The biggest thing is, if you miss a chance, how do you deal with it? He's good at that.”

(With IANS Inputs)


By Rashmi Nanda - 12 Feb, 2024

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