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Gooch: Fair play to Foster

PUBLISHED: 13:30 12 April 2018

James Foster warms up before play at Cambridge (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

James Foster warms up before play at Cambridge (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Graham Gooch paid tribute to the efforts of veteran Essex wicketkeeper James Foster in their county championship triumph ahead of the 2018 season, writes Lee Power.

Long-serving Foster, 37, began the 2017 campaign on the sidelines, missing the first four matches of the Division One campaign.

But he was brought back into the side by head coach Chris Silverwood and went on to claim 49 victims behind the stumps, while also averaging just under 30 with the bat, as Essex romped to the title.

Gooch said: “I was in favour of bringing Adam Wheater back. I’m on the advisory board to make those key decisions. I was very pleased that Wheater and Varun Chopra came back as they’re both Essex boys.

“We lost a few players because the perception is you need to play for a Test match ground to further your career and play international cricket. I don’t think that is the reality so them coming back to Essex was a great fillip for us.

“Chris Silverwood and the coaching staff decided to go with Adam at the beginning of the season, not because they didn’t have faith in James Foster, but you’re trying to do a bit of forward planning for the future.”

The 28-year-old Wheater, despite a century in Essex’s warm-up match against Durham University, was unable to make any big scores with the bat in the early championship fixtures.

And Foster was recalled for the home match against Surrey in late May, going on to score a century and share a 229-run stand with fellow stalwart Ravi Bopara during an innings win over Warwickshire and never looking back.

Gooch added: “To be fair it didn’t happen and James came back in and did what he always does. Credit to him, he carried on, was working at his game, he got back in the side, he never lets you down behind the stumps and played some important innings as well.

“It’s not a case of lost faith in James, but you’ve also got to plan for someone who maybe can play on for the next decade. He’s not going to be around that long, but credit to him, he deserved all the success and plaudits.”

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