England tour of India - Cricket: India tour a great learning experience: Foster

Published: Saturday, January 26, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
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Kolkata: Filling in for the seasoned Alec Stewart, young England wicket-keeper James Foster is determined to cement his place in the team and feels touring India has been a vital part of the learning process."The experience is totally different, especially keeping wickets against spin bowling. Back home, the ball does not turn so much so you need to be alert all the time," Foster told reporters.The 21-year-old wicket-keeper said coming into the team in place of such an experienced player like Alec Stewart had no doubt put him under some pressure but one had to learn to handle pressure at the highest level. Foster, the first undergraduate to be selected in the England team since Derek Pringle in 1982, played a significant part in the recent Test series against India with some stubborn batting in the lower order.On the prospects of the England team in the coming One-day series, he said "beating the Indians at home will be a formidable task. But we have a good young team and will certainly try our best."Foster said he had learned a lot during the Test series before Christmas and the experience will help him a lot to adapt to the conditions in the shorter version of the game.Foster, who plays for Essex in the English county, said he was quite surprised to be picked for the England team in such a short period after playing his maiden first class match.Commenting on his selection to the team, Foster said, ''Yes, I was really surprised. When I got picked, I was delighted. I was thrilled to be part of it. I made my county debut in 2000, and all this has come to me very soon.''On leaving his studies for the game, the young wicket-keeper said, ''I was studying before being selected for the Zimbabwe series. I know I've got to go back to finish my studies. Cricket can't be life. You can play for some time but something needs to be done after that''.Recounting his maiden Test experience, Foster said, ''It was not a very good match for me at Mohali. I felt a bit lost. I spoke to my seniors and they gave me some tips on how to play the spinners.''He said that the most significant thing in the Test series was to handle the pressure. ''There is a lot of pressure and one has to get used to it as fast as possible.''PTI

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