Essex and ex-England wicketkeeper James Foster to announce retirement

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An era of pure wicketkeeping will come to an end on Friday when James Foster is forced into retirement by news that Essex will not renew his contract.

Foster is the last great keeper of the faith in the post-Adam Gilchrist era when glovemen have to be batsmen first and foremost but will turn his attention to coaching after Essex announce the news.

Foster, as fit as ever at 38, is believed to be disappointed that his home county are not prepared to give him one last contract having instead handed the gloves this year to Adam Wheater and the emerging Michael Pepper.

But he is already in demand as a coach and was co-opted onto the England staff for this week’s final Test at the Oval where, among other things, he described himself as Alastair Cook’s ‘bodyguard’ on the tube to the ground.

Foster remains one of the great unfulfilled talents having played just seven Tests and 11 one-day internationals despite being earmarked as Alec Stewart’s long-term England wicketkeeper-batsman successor as long ago as 2001.

He had the misfortune of suffering a broken arm when hit in the nets by Essex team-mate Andy Clarke at a time when he was in possession of the England gloves but his injury allowed Stewart one last hurrah.

Foster, the only man to ever stump Sachin Tendulkar in Test cricket, returned for the 2009 World Twenty20 but that was it for a man who, but for that unlucky injury blow, could easily have joined his friend and county team-mate Cook in playing more than a hundred Tests.

Now he will throw his all into coaching and, as well as experience with England, has already featured in various Twenty20 franchise leagues as well as with the school that produced both him and Nasser Hussain, Forest in Snaresbrook, east London. 

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