Bangladesh the main focus for Foakes
England Under-19s may have one eye on this summer’s World Cup, but wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes is adamant they will not be taking Bangladesh lightly when they fly out to the sub-continent for a seven-match one-day international series later this week.
Foakes is part of a 15-man party that will arrive in Dhaka on Friday hoping to build momentum ahead of this summer’s global showpiece in Australia.
However, he is wary of the threat posed by England’s next opponents, who emerged as 5-2 victors when the sides last met in Bangladesh just over two years ago.
England also suffered a 3-1 ODI series defeat in Asia 12 months ago, at the hands of Sri Lanka, a result which provides greater incentive for Foakes and his team-mates this time around.
Speaking at the National Cricket Performance Centre at Loughborough ahead of the team’s departure, Foakes told ecb.co.uk: “It’s going to be a big series for us.
“Obviously we’re expected to win playing against Bangladesh, but the conditions are going to be quite favourable to them, so here we’re practising and trying to get as well prepared as we can. It should be a good test for us.
“They (the coaches) have been saying how low the ball keeps and it’s going to turn. We’re expecting to face 40 overs of spin in every game, and obviously spin in the past has been our weakness so that is what we are trying to improve a lot, by facing Merlyn (the bowling machine) as much as we can.
“We’re taking out Test matches so that we can look towards the World Cup. Obviously that’s a big focus for us, but we want to get past Bangladesh and hopefully get a win out there.
“Quite a few of us went out to Sri Lanka last winter, so that has put us in good stead I think. We did take a bit of a hammering out there to be fair, but I think we will have come on from there and this time we know what to expect, so we’ve got a fairly good chance I would have thought.”
Foakes acknowledges the personal challenge he faces in Bangladesh, in conditions that have posed problems for wicketkeepers in the past.
“It’s probably not the best place to keep,” he added. “Obviously the ball keeps low so you have got to stand as close as you can and I’ll probably stand up to pretty much every seamer that we’ve got.
“You’ve got to be on the ball and then, with the heat, getting straight back out there and batting you’ve got to be pretty fit.”
Following their tour of Bangladesh, the England squad will play in a quadrangular tournament against New Zealand, India and hosts Australia prior to August’s World Cup, which also takes place Down Under.
Having already represented his country at Under-19 level on several occasions, Foakes is excited by the prospect of testing himself on an even grander stage.
“You get (to play in) series against different countries, which are obviously great, but once you get to a big global event, just seeing all the players there and being able to compete and see where you come is obviously what you want,” he said.
“You’ve always got an eye on it because it has been the thing we have been thinking about for quite a long time. If we prepare for each series that we play then we are going to be in a good place.”