While the county game lost one of its great glovemen this summer, James Foster will not be following Chris Read into retirement just yet. Foster has been mulling a new contract offer from Essex since the club claimed the Championship title in September and has now committed himself to another year behind the stumps.
Foster will turn 38 in April but, having fought to regain his place from Adam Wheater during the 2017 season as Essex surprised onlookers by winning Division One the year after being promoted, he still retains the appetite for competition.
“I am delighted to be signing a new contract with Essex,” Foster said. “The 2017 Championship campaign was such an exciting and emotional season, and to see the happiness on so many people’s faces was incredible.
“A real highlight for me was when the team walked out to field during the last game of the season to a standing ovation from the Chelmsford crowd. The Championship win was also a huge credit to the work put in by all the backroom team, coaches and staff at the Club and it has been a pleasure working with Chris Silverwood and I wish him every success for the future in his new role with England.”
The departure of Silverwood to oversee England’s bowlers role has left Essex without a head coach but the dressing room will still have its most senior figure in place next season, after Foster’s decision to carry on.
Read and Foster were held up as the premier wicketkeepers of English cricket during the 2000s and 2010s, though both only won a handful of caps for England as the selectors gave weight to batting prowess. Like Read, who has gone into teaching after retirement, Foster has begun to plan for his post-playing career; he is the cricket professional at Forest School in Walthamstow and has coached with MCC Young Cricketers and Scotland.
He will add to that experience over the coming weeks, having flown on Friday to join up with Khulna Titans at the Bangladesh Premier League.
“Since the end of the season I have been busy coaching and now have an exciting month coming up as an assistant coach with the Khulna Titans, working alongside head Ccach Mahela Jayawardene,” he said. “I am looking forward to tapping into his knowledge, as well as the other coaches, and passing on what I learn to both Essex and Forest School when I return.”