MS Dhoni, Alex Stewart (Source:X)
CSK captain MS Dhoni’s electrifying wicketkeeping skills put him on the elite list of the generation’s best wicketkeepers. Several former cricketers have gone on record to say that Dhoni has the best hands in business, however, former England cricketer Alec Stewart feels that Poms’ keeper Ben Foakes is a notch above MS Dhoni.
India is one of the toughest countries for wicketkeepers given the sharp turn and inconsistent bounce but Foakes has hardly put a foot wrong in the series. The 30-year-old has been magnificent behind the stumps, taking six very good catches and inflicting two stumpings. Stewart said that Foakes has the fastest hands in world cricket at the moment.
“He does things that no one else can do. His hand speed is second to none,” Stewart told The Times. “MS Dhoni had quick hands but Foakes has the quickest hands in the game and the ball stays in them.”
Stewart shared details of Foakes’ training routine that helped him come out with flying colours on the India tour.
“He knew there would be a lot of spin bowling so it (his training) was 80-20 in favour of his standing-up stuff, which he’s brilliant at anyway — the ball bouncing, the ball turning, the ball keeping low. That’s why I was so pleased for him, after all the hours he’s put in, and then he gets rewarded with some of the catches he took.”
“We’d discuss the position of his feet, the height he gets, where his hands are. He leads it. We used the Merlin spin machine, mats that spin or one with holes cut in them, so that some spin and some bounce. We do it from 22 yards, or from ten or 11 yards. He knows what he wants to work on and we’ve done that since he joined us in 2014 from Essex.”
“I said a while ago he’s the best in the world and, but for circumstances, he could be coming up to playing 50 or 60 Tests, but I get the need to balance the side and that’s why he’s not played (more). People should not underestimate his batting,” he added.
Foakes has also contributed with the bat on the tour. In the second innings of the first Test, he scored a valuable 34 and added 112 runs with Ollie Pope in a match-changing partnership. In the second Test, he scored a gritty 36 against a quality Indian attack.