DateLine: 14th December 2006
James Foster appeared to be the future when selected for an England A team tour on the back of handful of first team appearances for Essex after the 2000 season.
He had commenced his professional career in the reserves for Essex aged 17, before representing England Under-19ís and British Universities as part of his development.
Late 2000 saw him move into the Essex first team replacing Barry Hyam and he was taken to The Caribbean for the Busta Cup where he held his own batting in the middle order for the England A team.
However, though 2001 proved to be a solid first season behind the stumps for a new player, some felt he jumped the queue when given the gloves in the one day series against Zimbabwe. More good fortune followed when Alec Stewart opted out of the India series and Foster played in all six tests in the sub-continent and New Zealand that winter.
Though Foster showed himself capable, it was always going to be hard to dislodge the evergreen Stewart and a broken arm scuppered any hopes he may have had - sidelining him for most of the most of the 2002 season. However he still made the tour to Australia as reserve Ď keeper and, again thanks to an absence by Stewart, played in the fourth test.
Subsequently Foster has been out of the England equation, despite his performances far exceeding anything he achieved while involved in the England set up.
He has developed into one of the best glovemen in the country, backed up by ever more impressive batting, including a 2004 that saw him hit a thousand runs and four centuries in first class matches. Another hugely impressive 2006 saw no impact on the selectors, despite Fosterís 48 average in first class matches and 38 in the limited over form playing a major part in Essexís impressive season.
Foster signed a three year deal with Essex at the end of the 2006 season.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2006 John Dobson)