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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April, 2003, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Foster takes patient approach
By Oliver Brett
BBC Sport

James Foster
There are some great 'keepers on the circuit at the moment
James Foster

Essex wicket-keeper James Foster gives a frank, though surprising answer when asked if he thinks he might be England's next one-day wicket-keeper.

"Personally I don't think I'll be a contender," says a man who although only just 23 has played in 11 one-day internationals, eight of which England have won.

At the moment he believes his batting style is more suited to Test cricket.

"I'm quite a patient sort of guy when I bat so I do suit the longer game more.

"You have to do well for your county. If you put in the performances you get a chance to be picked. If you don't get picked so be it and you just keep working hard again."

With a long break after the Ashes, Foster has thrown himself into pre-season training programme at Chelmsford and says he has been learning plenty.

"I'm developing some shots, talking to Andy Flower, Goochie, Nasser and so on, picking up all these tips, just developing my game."

James Foster playing in New Zealand
Test career: Seven matches, averaging 25.11
ODI career: 11 matches, averaging 13.66
First-class career: 38 matches, one century, six fifties, averaging 25.89

Wicket-keeping itself is a business that Foster feels you can never master, only keep learning. And after missing so much of last season with injuries he is hoping to make up for lost time.

"It's very much a learning thing - you get better with age. If you look at Steve Rhodes, he would probably say he's a better 'keeper now than he was when he played for England.

"I don't think you've ever really sussed it. People are always looking to improve."

Foster says he struck up a good friendship with Alec Stewart in Australia.

But aged 40, Stewart is about to leave the international one-day game and if not himself, who else does Foster think will step into the veteran's shoes?

"There's [Jonathan] Batty of Surrey, you've got Ready [Chris Read], Nashy [David Nash] at Middlesex, you've got [Mark] Wallace. There's Matt Prior as well.

"There are some great 'keepers on the circuit at the moment. It's a toss-up between quite a few of them.

"But there's no point me going through all of them and there's no point worrying about stuff you can't control.

Jonathan Batty of Surrey
Surrey's Jonathan Batty could play for England, says Foster

"I'm interested in scores and we'll see who gets runs. If people do well you have to take your hat off to them. I guess there might be rivalry but there's no jealousy."

He does, however, feel the younger generation have an edge on the older hands when it comes to choosing Stewart's successor.

Foster is still an undergraduate and despite the flexibility of his tutors at Durham, he makes no bones about how hard it is combining a degree with his job as a professional cricketer.

"I think it's going to be a three-year course over four-and-a-half years. I've got until the end of Christmas to finish my degree.

"I've 15,000 words to do on three assignments then I'm done and dusted. I'm looking forward to getting it finished.

"I just want to concentrate on cricket. I don't want to sit down after a day's play and do a few thousand words. It's the last thing on my mind."


Heirs to Stewart's throne
15 Apr 03  |  Cricket
Foster suffers new setback
25 Jul 02  |  England

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