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Dec 5 2017 at 08:07

These are odd times for wicketkeeping. Wholesale Saints Jerseys . In an era of better equipment, specialist coaches and video analysis, the keeper should be better than ever. And yet keeping is one area where it is not misty-eyed to suggest that standards have dropped significantly in the previous 20 years. The reason is simple: the ascent of the batsman-keeper over the keeper-batsman. It is a process that was famously accelerated by Adam Gilchrist, although he did not create it. In the 1950s, keepers averaged 20.60 in Tests; by the 1990s, at the end of which Gilchrist made his debut, they averaged 27.28; and in the 2010s that has risen further, to 34.20.Along the way there has been a very obvious compromise: proficiency in front of the stumps has come at the expense of dexterity behind them. You do not need to be nostalgic to imagine that the trade-off might have gone too far. Andy Flower, the former Zimbabwe keeper-batsman and England coach, says of Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler: The incumbent keepers at the moment are outstanding batsmen but are probably making a few too many errors. Im sure theyd acknowledge that.In the case of Bairstow, CricViz, the analytics company, has calculated that his keeping cost England 111 runs over the three Tests with Sri Lanka, though his rating improved to only -15 against Pakistan. Despite this improvement, there remains the palpable sense that the selection of Bairstow as keeper is proof that excellence in batting has been prioritised over excellence in keeping.The appeal of Ben Foakes is of a wicketkeeper who will require no compromises, one without obvious deficiencies with the bat or gloves. Sage judges have been seduced by this notion for some time. As a callow 19-year-old who had played only five first-class matches for Essex, Foakes was selected for the England Lions tour of Australia at the start of 2013. The tour proved almost as disastrous as the senior tour Down Under later that year, and yet Foakes won a significant admirer: Flower, who was en route to New Zealand for Englands series there.I was impressed straight away, Flower says. He looked like a really dedicated guy who knew what he was doing, even at that young age, and also what stood out was his technical excellence as a batsman. He played straight and he timed the ball beautifully even though he was quite slight. His keeping is of a very high standard and he would be termed as a keeper-batsman not a batsman-keeper, even though his battings of high quality.Foakes initially struggled to cope with such expectations. Those early Lions trips helped me in terms of development, but I probably wasnt quite ready in terms of my ability or knowledge of how I should play the game, he says. When I was 18 or 19, there was a bit of talk and I probably listened to it. I expected myself to be better than I was. Because people were saying potential future English star I expected myself to average 45 in first-class cricket when Id played three games. I didnt really know what it was about, when realistically I wasnt good enough to do that at the time.As a boy, Foakes would come to Chelmsford and be in awe of the ridiculous things that James Foster could do behind the stumps - so ridiculous that Foakes realised he would never be able to displace Foster. At the end of 2014, he opted to leave for Surrey.I struggled, he admits of his time as Fosters understudy. I found it quite hard to motivate myself to train when I was playing as a batter. I didnt really feel like my keeping was developing. Then Id go on a Lions trip and work with Bruce French and Id feel it come on leaps and bounds and then go back and it would just go nowhere. If I had any ambition to play for England, then I had to move and get the gloves.After his move to Surrey, it still took Foakes another year get the gloves fulltime. But he settled in well in 2015, averaging a shade over 50 in first-class cricket, though he was not selected for every game, and recalibrated himself to deal with the expectations that come with being a new signing. At Essex I was seen as a youngster. When its your home club and youre the young guy coming in, theres an element of it might work, might not. Then when you move youve got a bit more pressure to perform. You have to do well when you move, especially at a big club like Surrey.That Foakes was handed the gloves at start of 2016 was a mark of Surreys faith in him. Gary Wilson had been outstanding in the previous two seasons, averaging 46.87 and then 47.70 in the County Championship, yet Surreys certainty that Foakes is a future England player convinced them to elevate him.It is not hard to see why. There is an unobtrusive, understated efficiency to everything Foakes does, with bat and ball; in both he is underpinned by an exemplary technique.In an age of batting pyrotechnics - not least among Englands three wicketkeeping Bs - Bairstow, Jos Buttler and Sam Billings - Foakes is an antidote. I try not to get too far ahead of myself, in terms of where we are in the game, and just grind really. No one who saw a funereal 59 not out off 235 balls against Middlesex in May would disagree. Yet there is a different strand to his game too. At Headingley in the semi-final of the Royal London Cup, Foakes scored 90, an innings marked by dexterity whipping the ball through the leg side and racing between the wickets.Foakes needed several years in the professional game to establish his identity with the bat. I thought you had to impress by playing the right kind of shots, he says, I tried to attack too much, which wasnt really my natural game. Batting with Kumar [Sangakkara] you learn that if you block one ball and get a one instead of a boundary, then the game isnt going to change too much.One thing I found difficult at the start of this year was, batting at seven, when wed lose a few wickets: how to bat in that situation? Batting at four or five, you can just bat and go however you want. But when youre eight or nine down you cant do that.That Foakes is averaging 45.66 in the Championship and 55.00 in the Royal London Cup (in T20 he batted as low as No. 9 on occasions) shows a man who has risen to the challenge.His keeping is even further advanced. With some batsman-keepers you can see that theyve worked so hard on their technique that they look a little stiff. He doesnt, he catches the ball really naturally, and hes a very natural athlete, Flower says.Foakes is adroit, agile, and capable of making arduous catches look nonchalant, as in a wonderful take down the leg side to snare Haseeb Hameed recently. For now, Foakes is a taker of great catches rather than a great keeper. But the occasional lapses are no surprise considering that he took to keeping full-time aged 16 and only now, at 23, has he been able to keep full-time in county cricket. I hadnt done a hell of a lot of keeping before I came here. I just feel like a better keeper - my hands feel better, my movements feel better. Just being able to do it regularly has helped me improve. Development has been accelerated by being the only county keeper to have to contend with two spinners regularly. Foakes also reckons that Stuart Meaker is the worst guy Ive ever kept to in my life. Despite Meakers pace, his low trajectory means the ball doesnt generate great carry so Foakes has to stand relatively close to the stumps. Ive got guys who challenge my keeping immensely.Foakes is also fortunate to have Alec Stewart and Sangakkara to learn from, even if the two favour very different methods. I work a lot with Stewie. Every day before a game hell do whatever I want with him, Foakes says. Kumar has quite different opinions. I take on board a lot of what he says, but not all of it. Kumars all about being as simple as you can - never really practise on tough surfaces, just groove your rhythm. And then the English method is overtraining - do as much as you can, as quick as you can. I prefer that.At one point in our chat, Stewart interrupts while walking past to proclaim Foakes the best in the country. In response, Foakes declares that Stewart is loyal to his Surrey boys, though it is not only those with a Surrey connection who are intrigued by Foakes. Chris Read has called him a very natural keeper who looks handy with both bat and gloves.It might not be too long before England find out if such faith is justified. Foakes is being considered for the winter Test tours, though another stint with the Lions seems more likely. I feel like Im batting well and keeping well, but Ive got no idea about the standard and the different challenges, Foakes says. Ive got no idea whether Id be ready. I hope I would be.Plenty of others do, too, seeing in Foakes the possibility of a marriage of keeping excellence, of the sort that was once the norm in Test cricket, with the batting capability that the modern game demands. For now, the idea of Foakes might still be better than the reality. But, as Flower says: In Englands search for keepers that make very few errors but can also contribute significantly with that bat, hes of the right type, theres no doubt about that. Black Friday Saints Jerseys .Y. -- Sabres defenceman Tyler Myers had no intention of changing his hard-hitting style before taking part in a disciplinary hearing for his illegal check to New Jersey forward Dainius Zubrus head. Cheap Saints Jerseys . He was followed closely by David Clarkson, donning red, seconds later. Clarksons actions one night earlier, leaping off the bench in defence of Kessel during a pre-season game against the Buffalo Sabres, will cost him the first 10 games of the regular season. www.cheapsaintsjerseys.net/ . John Lucas, signed as a mentor for rookie Trey Burke, showed he can score if required, scoring 12 points of his 16 points in the second quarter as Utah built an 18-point lead. Melbourne Victory have again looked to the continent for a defensive leader, signing Spaniard Alan Baro on a one-year A-League deal.Baro, 31, joins from Spanish second-tier club Ponferradina as a replacement for departed A-League winner Matthieu Delpierre.Victory have described the centre-back as a versatile, skilful and durable player who can also play as a holding midfielder.Given the rest of Victorys defenders are aged 23 or younger, coach Kevin Muscat said a wiser older head in the back four had been identified as a priority.Its been a work in progression for a little while and were very pleased, he said on Monday.We identified Alan as a player who can add valuable experience and leadership to the team, having played consistently at a high level in Spain.Hes a very good defender. An agggressive defender who likes to build up and play football . Authentic Saints Jerseys. .. a natural fit for us.Baro spent a season at Socceroo star John Aloisis former club Osasuna during a decade in Spains lower leagues.He said his internet searching for his new home convinced him of the worth of moving to Australia.I look for information about Melbourne Victory and I see that it is a great club that has won a lot of leagues, he said.After James Donachie and Mitch Austin, Baro is the third new signing to join Victory pre-season training ahead of glamour friendlies later this month.Victory meet Juventus on July 23 at the MCG and Atletico Madrid at Simonds Stadium on July 31. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' ' 



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