Ben out to keep shocking folks
While many of his former team-mates from the England Under-19s set-up are honing their games in the hope of impressing counties this winter, Essex’s Ben Foakes will be making a step up in the international ranks.
Foakes has already shown plenty of promise early in his young career, striking 93 against Leicestershire on LV= County Championship debut this season.
Performances such as that one have catapulted the batsman ahead of his former age-group colleagues - something that is illustrated by his call-up for the England Performance Programme trip to India.
Foakes is only the third player to move straight from the U19s to the EPP, following in the footsteps of James Taylor and Ben Stokes - both of whom have since earned full international honours.
“I was a little bit shocked (with the call-up) to be honest,” he told ecb.co.uk. “But obviously it’s good news - I was just over the moon to get the phone call and I am looking forward to working hard.
“India is one of the toughest places to tour and that will be really good for my learning; hopefully I’ll be able to work out a game for out there and be successful.
“I’ve been to India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh before so I know the conditions and how they’re going to approach the games; I do not think I will be shocked by anything.”
When asked about joining Stokes and Taylor, Foakes said: “Obviously that’s a good thing to hear.
“The two people before are good company to be in and I just want to try and impress as much as I can and put my name forward.
“You’ve got people who have played for England around you and I think it is just trying to learn off their experience. They obviously train very well so I’ll be trying to get their habits engraved in my game and progress as quickly as I can.”
Any thoughts Foakes might wilt on the big stage appear to be unfounded, with the 19-year-old having shown an aptitude for rising to the occasion.
That was no more evident than in his aforementioned championship bow.
“That was obviously a good game for me,” he said. “I had to come in right at the end of that day and (Ramnaresh) Sarwan did not really take a liking to me, so I had a bit of abuse from him under the lid for a while.
“I got through that and the sun was out the next day; it was a lot nicer to bat. And then I think I ate a bit too much at lunch because I nicked off straight away.
“It was a good experience, but I was disappointed to miss out on a hundred. (Wayne) White was bowling a good spell and bowled a good ball to me, but overall I was very happy with the innings.”
Regardless of what happens from this point forwards, Foakes will always look back upon his time with the U19s - particular this summer’s World Cup in Australia - fondly.
“It was a really good experience,” he admitted. “I’ve had a lot of experience with the Under-19s, but I think the World Cup was just a different level.”