I don’t think about it: Foakes on possible snub for Antigua Test
Ben Foakes. (AFP Image)

Ben Foakes is not dwelling much over the possibility of being left out of England’s Playing XI from the second Test against West Indies in Antigua. Foakes, who was Player of the series in his debut Test series against Sri Lanka last year, might have to warm the bench as England try and rectify their selection errors from the first Test, a match they lost by 381 runs.

With three wicketkeeper batsmen in the side – Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler being the other two – there is a strong possibility that Foakes gets dropped to accommodate both Sam Curran and Stuart Broad. Broad was left out of the XI, with Curran taking his place, a move which Joe Root, the England captain, admitted to have not worked.

“It’s a unique situation but it’s fine, there’s no awkwardness,” said Foakes. “I didn’t think I’d be in Sri Lanka, then I thought I would have one game and then Jonny would be back. I don’t want to say I feel lucky to be here, but things have fallen into place and it’s just up to me to take the opportunity.”

Foakes struck a double century on Test debut last year in Sri Lanka and went on to score 277 runs from three matches averaging 69.25. Foakes insisted he is in favour of whatever decision in taken and that he is open to sitting out if that gives England better balance and a chance to level the series in Antigua.

“Those are things I don’t think about,” he insisted when asked about the uncertainty surrounding his position. “It will drive you crazy. I’m just preparing for the next game. If I get the nod, I get the nod. If not, then good luck to whoever does. I didn’t perform last game, so I can’t sit there and say ‘Why did you drop me’. I did really well in Sri Lanka and I completely want to play the next game. But we lost by 300-odd runs and if a change is needed, a change is needed.

“I find this a really tricky place to keep. There’s a bit of uneven bounce, and it comes to you at different paces. There are some tricky outfields, too, with the ball bouncing in front of you. I was disappointed not to take that catch [off Stokes]. But as a fairly young keeper, it’s about getting used to these conditions.”

Foakes conceded that even though England expected West Indies to be a strong and competitive, the team did not imagine going down by a margin of almost 400 runs. The biggest letdown was their batting performance in the first innings, when England were bowled out for 77 with fast bowler Kemar Roach picking up eight wickets.

“We knew they’d be a good team,” he said. “We didn’t think we’d lose by 300 runs but we knew they were a good team with some amazing players. They played extremely well. But we were well under par and way below where we should have been. We have a lot more to give.

“I don’t know if it’s just valuing your wicket more in that sort of situation. It’s a strange when you have to bat for two-and-a-half days. On one hand you’ve the 600 target, on the other you’re thinking do we play for a draw. So maybe it’s that clarity about what you’re going for, whether you’re completely blocking out the target and saying ‘you’re not getting me out.’ I think there was still a sense that we could win the game.”