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Updated January 31st, 2024 at 13:57 IST

Indian conditions up there with the hardest: Foakes

England's Ben Foakes feels Indian wickets are among the hardest for wicketkeepers as they require frequent improvisation and a tough mind prepared to deal with things occasionally going wrong.

Ben Foakes
Ben Foakes | Image:AP
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England's Ben Foakes feels Indian wickets are among the hardest for wicketkeepers as they require frequent improvisation and a tough mind prepared to deal with things occasionally going wrong.

Foakes, who made a Test comeback after 11 months, effected the stumpings of a well-set Ravichandran Ashwin and Mohammed Siraj in India's second innings that sealed England's epic 28-run win in the opening Test of the five-match series in Hyderabad.

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He also scored 34 in a crucial 112-run partnership with the star of the match Ollie Pope (196) that gave England the decisive lead.

"In conditions like this, it's about trying to think on your feet and learn because it's not natural conditions (for me)," the 30-year-old was quoted as saying by 'ESPNCricinfo'.

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"I've obviously kept away a lot and kept to spinners, but I find that Indian pitches, with the variable bounce, are up there with the hardest.

"The more extreme the conditions you know things are occasionally going to wrong so you just have to mentally strong enough to put it out of your mind," he added.

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The 30-year-old is bracing up for extreme conditions in the rest of the series as well.

"There is a good chance the next one is going to be a tough one.

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"You're in the game, so it's nice as a keeper. It's obviously a very hard place to keep, and you're aware of that. You're going to have some tough moments or a tough day. But you'd rather be in the game than watching the ball do nothing in front of you," he added.

In their tour of India in 2021, England had won the opening Test only to lose three in a row in the four-match series on rank-turners.

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"All three were probably the worst pitches I've batted on. Going into that, I was thinking, 'These are horrific wickets -- I just need to find a way to stay in'," Foakes recalled.

Emphasising a shift in the team's mindset, he said: "I think now the group is more, if that's the situation, you've got to be positive; got to put it (pressure) back on the bowler and put them under pressure.

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"Before, there was more of a fear of getting out and that put us in our shells. Whereas now it's not worrying that you are getting out and accepting that you probably are on those sort of surfaces. But how can you actually go and dominate at times as well?" Keeping the tough Indian conditions in mind, Foakes was chosen as the specialist wicketkeeper ahead of Jonny Bairstow.

"The thing I've tried to develop when I go in is if we lose a couple of wickets, to expand early," he said about his partnership with Pope.

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"But I think generally, throughout my career, when there's been those kind of situations where you have to grind in is when I've been most successful. That's where I need to keep improving, so it fits quite nicely into my game." 

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Published January 31st, 2024 at 13:57 IST

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