James Bracey working on his keeping (Image: Popperfoto via Getty Images)
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James Bracey has revealed just how much help he has been getting from the man whose job he is now hoping to take for the long term.
And unless Ben Foakes has been trying to teach Bracey that right is left and up is down, it is a remarkable act of selflessness on the part of a player who has been dealt the cruellest of blows.
Bracey may well have made his Test debut this week in any case in the top three, but Foakes’ hamstring injury, slipping on the Oval dressing room floor, has meant the Gloucestershire man will take the gloves at Lord’s and bat in a keeper’s traditional position.
James Bracey could make himself Jos Buttler's long term No.2 this week
(Image: Getty Images)
And even though a successful tilt in the role could make Bracey the official number two when Jos Buttler returns, Foakes has been on hand to make sure he is as well prepared as he can possibly be.
“This is absolutely my chance,” said Bracey. “I've benefited from Foakesy having a freak accident and I think if I put in good performances over the next couple of games, that could see me bed into the squad moving forward.
“The manner that it happened, I am gutted for him. I know he is gutted, but he has been brilliant with me over the last 48 hours.
Ben Foakes would have played his first Test at home if not for injury
“I spoke to him yesterday and he has been really helpful to me in terms of keeping and our different bowlers and what challenges I might come up against.
“I've kept to a lot of them in practice, in various practice games and that sort of thing. That's why I reached out to Ben because there are little things that you don't get from not keeping to people in proper games. He was really helpful and gave me a couple of little tips.”
Ollie Robinson could be sending the ball down to Bracey this week
(Image: ECB via Getty Images)
It is Bracey’s batting that had originally caught the eye and elevated him into Test contention and he is hopeful that even when Buttler returns there could be a role for him further up the order.
“When it comes to batting, I like to get in a battle, be gritty, and not afraid to go through those hard yards,” said Bracey.
“I'm definitely willing to put in those hard yards. I think I like to be patient, calculated, think about the game and try my best to stay calm.
Joe Root took a blow to his hand at England nets
(Image: Getty Images)
“I'm in a really good place with my batting. I came out of that trip to Asia and looked at myself and thought I could do a job in Test cricket in that top three. I’d be excited to do that as well.”
There was brief moment during training at Lord’s when England’s number four suffered a blow to the hand that required treatment.
However Joe Root, as he is also known, was able to bat again after having his hand iced, suggesting he will be fine for Wednesday. A vice-captain will be named on Tuesday.