The debate between Jos Buttler and Ben Foakes

Jos Buttler and Foakes both are vying for one test match spot as England's wicketkeeper for the West Indies 3rd test at Old Trafford 2020.

Jos Buttler vs Ben Foakes – Who Should Be England Cricket’s Number 1?

Jos Buttler and Ben Foakes are two extremely talented cricketers. Both are vying for one spot in England’s test team. In fact, Jonny Bairstow and James Bracey are also in contention. That tells you all you need to know about the depth in English Cricket at this point in time.

However, with Jos Buttler struggling with the bat of late in test match cricket, we must ask the question.

Should Jos Buttler be England’s test match wicketkeeper or should Ben Foakes have his reign?

Should Jos Buttler not focus his energy on limited-overs cricket instead?

In this article, we will assess the reasons for why Jos Buttler should be picked ahead of Ben Foakes and vice-versa. We hope you enjoy our analysis!

Why Jos Buttler Should Retain His Place Ahead Of Ben Foakes

  • Foakes’ Poor County Championship Form

Should Jos Buttler be replaced with Ben Foakes for the England vs West Indies test series third test at Old Trafford 2020?
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 25: Ben Foakes of Surrey is bowled out by Jack Blatherwick of Nottinghamshire during Day Three of the Specsavers County Championship Divsion One match between Surrey and Nottinghamshire at The Kia Oval on September 25, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images for Surrey CCC)

Ben Foakes had a poor County Championship 2019. He scored 575 runs in 13 first-class games. In this period he batted 23 times. As a result, Ben Foakes only averaged 25 runs per innings in the County Championship last season. This is well backed up the statistics saying his overall average last season was only 26.13.

Given that Surrey County Cricket Club does not offer the most difficult pitches to bat on, this is a poor return. Had he been batting on rank turners like at Taunton or on green tops like at Durham, it might have been acceptable. However, this is perhaps why Ben Foakes did not start the Ashes 2019.

Jos Buttler, therefore, was preferred to Ben Foakes as a wicketkeeper-batsman.

  • The Counter-Attacking Role

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – MAY 11 : Jos Buttler of England celebrates after reaching his century during the second one-day international between England and Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl on May 11, 2019 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Given the way that England’s test team is currently set-up, it makes more sense for Jos Buttler to play ahead of Ben Foakes. Dominic Sibley and Rory Burns currently open the batting with Zak Crawley at number 3. Neither of these players scores quickly and often take time out of the game. Ollie Pope scores quickly in first-class cricket but has not been able to replicate that yet in test match cricket.

Also, Read Zak Crawley – Can he edge out Rory Burns or Dominic Sibley

Therefore, with only Joe Root and Ben Stokes as the aggressors, England would perhaps also like to have their wicketkeeper play in a more aggressive manner. This is perhaps why England would prefer Jos Buttler over Ben Foakes. Jos Buttler does strike close to 60 in test match cricket. Considering that he bats at number 7, this is almost perfect for a counterattack.

  • Jos Buttler Is Experienced In Test Cricket, while Ben Foakes isn’t

Jos Buttler bats in England Practice Match 2020 and Ben Foakes is the wicketkeeper
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JULY 01: Ben Foakes looks on as Jos Buttler cuts a ball towards the boundary during Day One of a England Warm Up Match at the Ageas Bowl on July 01, 2020 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Jos Buttler has already played 43 test matches and at this point, some argue it would pointless to drop him for Ben Foakes. This argument does not hold much in its favour since the number of tests should not determine the selection. The form and role are far more important one would imagine.

However, Jos Buttler has already toured India, Sri Lanka, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates among other countries. Ben Foakes on the other hand, has only been to Sri Lanka and the West Indies. As a result, Jos Buttler has had more experience of foreign conditions and therefore could outperform Ben Foakes on future overseas tours.

Jos Buttler did score twin half-centuries in the West Indies, while Ben Foakes struggled on that tour with the pace and bounce. But, most of the team struggled and Buttler was no different – only scoring those runs when the series was already decided and when Ben Foakes had been dropped.

The debate regarding Jos Buttler vs Ben Foakes doesn’t seem to have an easy solution.

Why Jos Buttler Should Be Replaced By Ben Foakes

  • Jos Buttler’s Inability To Convert Half-Centuries

Ollie Pope from Surrey County Cricket Club scores a century versus South Africa 2020
GALLE, SRI LANKA – NOVEMBER 07: England batsman Ben Foakes celebrates reaching his century during Day Two of the First Test match between Sri Lanka and England at Galle International Stadium on November 7, 2018 in Galle, Sri Lanka. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Jos Buttler and Ben Foakes are both excellent players of spin bowling. In fact, Jos Buttler averages 39 in India and 42 in Sri Lanka. Ben Foakes also did really well on his only tour to the subcontinent. He scored 277 runs in 6 games at an average of 69.

However, Ben Foakes did score a century on his test match debut and also scored 65 not out and 36 not out on the same tour. Jos Buttler meanwhile has only scored one century throughout his entire test career. His highest score outside of England is only 76. It is clear that Jos Buttler has not been able to capitalise on good starts.

15 half-centuries but only 1 test match century is perhaps not good enough for a player of Jos Buttler’s calibre.

Ben Foakes Is Perhaps The Best Gloveman In The Country

KATUNAYAKE, SRI LANKA – MARCH 08: Ben Foakes and Saqid Mahmood of England during day two of the tour match between SLC Board President’s XI and England at Chilaw Marians Cricket Club Ground on March 08, 2020 in Katunayake, Sri Lanka. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Jos Buttler has been very very good with the gloves in test match cricket. In fact, his costly drop of Jermaine Blackwood in the first test at the Ageas Bowl was his only mistake in two years. However, it is widely regarded that Ben Foakes is the best gloveman in the country.

Ask anyone around the county circuit and they would comfortably choose Ben Foakes as their wicketkeeper. He demonstrated these qualities when he kept on low tracks in Sri Lanka and did a fantastic job. England won the series 3-0. He is perhaps more of a natural wicketkeeper as well, compared to Jos Buttler.

Who is the better wicketkeeper for you, in Jos Buttler vs Ben Foakes?

  • Let Jos Buttler focus on his ODI & T20 Cricket

    SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – MAY 11 : Jos Buttler of England celebrates after reaching his century during the second one-day international between England and Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl on May 11, 2019 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images)

    Jos Buttler recently helped England to win the 2019 Cricket World Cup by playing a superb knock in the final. He also had a very good tournament overall. Since the World T20 is likely to be rescheduled for February-March 2021, there is a fair case to say that Jos Buttler should focus on his energy limited-overs cricket.

    Should Jos Buttler give up the gloves, he could become a white-ball specialist and perhaps enhance his reputation further. England will be keen to banish memories of their defeat at 2016 World T20 final. Jos Buttler transferring the gloves to Ben Foakes could be a big part in helping them turn the tables.

So, who would you pick? The conundrum is Jos Buttler vs Ben Foakes.

The third test match between England and the West Indies starts on Friday the 24th of July at Old Trafford.



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