Woakes gets call as Root unveils his Ashes team
CHRIS WOAKES has been recalled for the second Test against West Indies as England stepped up their Ashes preparations by naming the XI that is likely to start that series at the Gabba in November.
Woakes, 28, has returned from the side strain sustained during the Champions Trophy in June and will make his first Test appearance of the year in place of Toby Roland-Jones for the match which starts today.
That is the only change in England’s team at Headingley from the one that thrashed West Indies by an innings inside three days in the series opener at Edgbaston.
Although Roland-Jones has been unlucky to be dropped after impressing in his first three Tests, England want to give Woakes sufficient time on the park ahead of this winter’s series in Australia.
The Warwickshire all-rounder, who took 41 Test wickets at 25.41 and averaged 30.81 with the bat in 2016, is almost certain to be in England’s team for the first Test in Brisbane.
And with just one more match against West Indies at Lord’s before then, now is the time for Woakes to return having not played since the fourth Test against India at Mumbai last November.
“There’s one change, Woakesy comes in for Toby,” said England captain Joe Root. “The reason is I think if you had looked at the start of the series and Woakesy had been fit he would have come into the team straight away on the back of some really strong performances in Test cricket.
“It is important that Woakesy gets some game time in and it is a great chance for him to prove himself and come back into the side with a strong performance.
“He has been phenomenal for us. His record last year was outstanding. His challenge will be to back that up. It is great to see guys coming into the side taking opportunities, giving the selectors headaches and having to make difficult decisions.”
Roland-Jones has taken 14 wickets at 19.35 in his three Tests so far. However, Root believes the Middlesex bowler’s absence bodes well. “I think it shows we have got a lot of depth in the bowling department,” he said.
“I think the key is that they keep pushing each other for their spots. Woakesy has got an opportunity this week to take wickets and to back up what he has done previously but it is great to know Toby has been very unfortunate to miss out.”
Jump to it: Chris Woakes warms up during an England nets session at Headingley
Sorry mate: Joe Root has dropped Toby Roland-Jones