Ben Foakes: The Quickest Hands in the Game | Alec Stewart | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: Ben Foakes has the fastest hands in the game right now, according to former England wicketkeeper Alec Stewart, even though the great MS Dhoni had quick hands as a keeper.
Foakes has garnered praise for his outstanding wicketkeeping abilities in the first two Test matches against India, despite the challenging conditions that pose a challenge for foreign keepers. On his current tour of India, he has so far claimed six catches and resulted in two stumpings, including two outstanding catches off the bowling of leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed at Visakhapatnam.
“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,” said Stewart to The Times.
As director of cricket at county club Surrey, Stewart, who played 82 Tests as an England wicketkeeper, had assisted Foakes in getting ready for the Test trip to India. He described the sessions between Christmas and New Year that Foakes attended during his ten weeks of intense preparation for the India tour, all completed under his close supervision.

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“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.
“He knew there would be a lot of spin bowling so it (his training) was 80-20 in favour 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.
“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 from 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).”

Foakes had contributed significantly with the bat in Hyderabad, where he and Ollie Pope shared a sixth-wicket partnership of 112 runs, with Ollie Pope making an incredible 196. Foakes has been a dependable keeper behind the stumps for England in this series, despite having missed a stumping of KL Rahul early in the first innings.
“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.
“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,” concluded Stewart.
(With IANS inputs)

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