ESSEX County Cricket Club coach Paul Grayson admits if departing wicket-keeper Ben Foakes was his son he would have advised him to leave the club too.

England under-19 and Lions international Foakes, who is from Frinton, announced last week he would be joining Surrey next season after finding his pathway to the Essex team blocked by James Foster.

The 21-year-old, who has come through the Essex ranks and has played his club cricket for Frinton, was given assurances by Surrey that he would be the county’s number one wicketkeeper.

And that’s something Grayson admits Essex could not do.

“He has been told by Surrey that he will keep wicket,” said Grayson.

“It’s always tough to lose someone, especially someone who has come through the ranks like Ben, but he wants to keep wicket.

“He has run down his contract and we can’t stop him moving.

“We made him an offer to stay – but he is well aware where we stand with James Foster.

“He is the best wicket-keeper in the country and Ben is not going to play ahead of him.

“If he was my son I would have said exactly the same thing.

“If he wants to progress, he has to move on.

“He goes with our best wishes.”