Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

On Song County Keeper Ben Sets Standards High

Ben Cox wants to become the best wicket-keeper in the country – but says Essex’s James Foster still currently holds that tag with Surrey’s Ben Foakes not far behind.

The Worcestershire player again showed his class and powers of concentration behind the stumps in the recent Specsavers County Championship match at Cheltenham before the break for NatWest T20 Blast action.

Cox pulled off two stunning but contrasting catches in Gloucestershire’s first innings in what were heat-sapping conditions.

The 25-year-old dived low to his right to snaffle a one-handed chance offered by Will Tavare off Worcestershire skipper Joe Leach.

Then late in the day the former Bromsgrove School pupil launched himself to take a head high chance offered by Kieran Noema-Barnett off Josh Tongue.

That Cox is able to maintain such standards on a day to day basis from overs one to 96 is a testament to his fitness as well as his technical skills as Worcestershire prepare to return to Championship action this weekend against Sussex at New Road on Sunday.

County all-rounder Ed Barnard said: “Coxy is brilliant. I think it showed at Cheltenham – especially in the heat – in the last few overs of the day when he was still diving around taking the ball one handed.

“I think it is testament to him, the work he does in the gym and the fitness he shows to be able to do that all day.”

Cox said: “I take pride in my fitness. I try and be as fit as I can and I suppose it does stand me in good stead for when I’m on the field.

“You get used to your time periods (on the pitch). When I was 18, it was a bit of a shock, 19, 20, but you gradually get used to everything.

“Your work load increases, you get tired but my sets (stances) change so, if I’m feeling a bit tired, I’ll ease out of some positions and take the work load off.

“You learn how to save energy and then be explosive when it matters.”

Cox added: “I have a lot of pride in my keeping. I want to be the best. I want to have that tag and my standards are real high.

“That’s why I was disappointed I let one bye through on the second morning at Cheltenham, a clumsy fumble.

“My standards are so high. I want to beat every keeper. I want to win my little battles. I take a real pride in my keeping.

“Have I got to that number one position yet? No. If Foz is keeping (James Foster) he is still number one and then Foakesy has got to be number two.”

Surrey Director Of Cricket Alec Stewart has recently decribed Foakes as “the best wicket-keeper in the world.”

But Cox said: “I want to do it the other way around through word of mouth and through consistent performances behind the stumps .

“I want to do it the hard way and get people to notice that way.”