Reginald ‘Tip’ Foster, who was born on 16th April 1878 was truly an all-around sportsman. He was the only man to lead England in both cricket and football. However, his number of matches was limited. He played just eight test matches for England cricket team and six matches for the three lions, the national football team.
However in those eight test matches, Foster achieved some of the longest standing records in cricket. Foster played two series for England and his opponents were Australia and South Africa. His first five tests were in Australia in 1903-04 and the next three tests were played in England against South Africa in 1907.
He had a memorable debut test at Sydney Cricket Ground. After Australia putting up 285 in their first innings, Foster batted at number five for England and delivered a magnificent 287 on debut. His innings had 37 boundaries and as per the news and stories on media, he never looked like in trouble throughout his innings. The 287 still remained a world record as the highest score made by a debutant in test matches. Not only that, 287 also remained the highest score made by a Non-Australian in down under. With so many great players traveling to Australia over the years, it is a great achievement for Foster to still hold the record.
Although this was foster’s only test century he could maintain a test average of 46.30, quite respectable at that era. He also led England in his last three tests against South Africa and signed off with 51 and 35. He was only 29 when he played his last test for England. However, his business commitment kept him out of the game for a significant period of time and although he had the offer to lead the English team in their next Ashes tour he refused because of the business commitments. He came back to first-class cricket later and continued playing till 1912. Foster scored more than 9,000 runs in First class cricket and he as well as his six brothers also played for Worcestershire.
Foster played six football matches for England and scored three goals. He also got a chance to captain in his last match for England which ended in a goalless draw.