BazBall isn’t all about hitting sixes every ball: Foakes

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21 Feb 2023 | 10:01 AM staff

BazBall isn’t all about hitting sixes every ball: Foakes

Ben Foakes also cedes that thoughts of Jonny Bairstow replacing him has occurred to the Surrey man

Ben Foakes’ career thus has been a fitting tale of stop-start. Whenever there were expectations that he will get a long run, it has ended abruptly, due to various circumstances, ranging from slipping on a sock, contracting COVID-19, and later being replaced by Ollie Pope as the keeper in Pakistan. 

From the outside, England’s new approach to Test cricket – the BazBall – has looked like the batters going after the bowlers from the word go. But Foakes insisted that BazBall isn’t all about hitting sixes every ball, and added that there is a method behind the madness. 

"I'm not, as you'd say, Bazball," Foakes ceded. "So I was kind of thinking, 'how am I meant to go about this?' But I think ever since I've come in, I think it hasn't been that, it hasn't been, 'you have to try and hit every ball for six'. It's been, 'play your way but if you think the option is on, don't umm and aah about it and be negative. Go for it.'

But at the same time, Foakes insisted that it isn’t a very smart idea on his part to go after the bowling every delivery. The Surrey-man was keen to take the game-on in his own way, rather than go by what his teammates are doing. 

"Some of these guys have got more ability to hit it all over the place. I think if I try and do that it's just quite far away from my strengths, so I don't think it's the smartest idea. I think playing with freedom, but doing it in a way you feel comfortable,” he added.

In Foakes’ own words, his Test career could be summed up with just one word – rollercoaster. He’s been everything, everywhere all at once. But it hasn’t come without insecurities, of not being part of the playing XI. 

"I think my England journey has been a bit of a rollercoaster from day one," Foakes said. "I've had a lot of times out of the team where I've thought about 'how do I get back in?' and things like that, and I guess thinking about those things doesn't help my game at all.

Foakes also reckoned that he has in the past worried that his place would be up for grabs, on Jonny Bairstow’s return to the playing XI. But at this point in his career, the right-hander has ceded all of those thoughts, insisting that all that he thinks about his enjoying the game. 

"Naturally, you're going to think about things. But at the stage I'm at, there's no point stressing over it. I'm having some good form in my career and I'm just trying to enjoy that rather than stressing about what might happen,” he added.

"In international cricket you will always go through certain phases. There have been so many times have in my career when I've thought 'oh that's going to happen, that's going to happen' and it never has. So, there's no point in worrying about it."

At the age of 30, Foakes hasn’t had quite the regular opportunities come his way but the right-hander had quite a few tasks, including playing multiple knocks with the tail, where he reckoned that there his impact was visible. 

"And I do think, quite a few of the games I've contributed have been in more in the role of batting normally and I guess more pressurised situations where you can't lose a wicket. So, I think for me trying to perform in those times is quite crucial for the team and that's where I can probably show my impact the most."

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New Zealand vs EnglandEngland tour of New Zealand, 2023EnglandBen Foakes

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