Woakes swapping money for an Ashes opportunity
CHRIS WOAKES commands a place in two of England’s three teams — but absence from Tests has made the heart grow fonder and the head consider some big decisions. Woakes, 34, has held two £500,000-plus Indian Premier League contracts in the past, but he pulled out this year in a bid to play in the summer’s Ashes. He will go from the tour of Bangladesh, which ends with a Twenty20 series starting today, into the County Championship with Warwickshire next month. Woakes said: ‘There were a lot of factors. When I have come back from the IPL before, I don’t feel I have come back in the best shape going into a Test summer. ‘I haven’t played Test cricket for a year, so I need some overs under my belt to have the chance to knock on the door for selection. It is a tough team to get back into at the minute.’ The knee injury that caused Woakes to miss seven Tests last summer means he is yet to play under captain Ben Stokes. Stokes wants a large group of bowlers for five Tests in seven weeks and Woakes has quality on home soil, taking wickets at 22.63 compared to 51.88 abroad. England may also pick ground specialists. The Ashes begins at Woakes’ home of Edgbaston on June 16 and then visits Lord’s, where in five Tests he has more than a fifth of his 130 Test scalps. ‘If I can get myself red-ball fit and bowling well, I’d like to think I’d be in the mix,’ Woakes said. First, a chance for a white-ball double over Bangladesh as England fine-tune their skills on the Subcontinent ahead of this year’s 50-over World Cup in India.
Buttler (capt, wkt), Salt, Malan, Duckett, Ali, S Curran, Woakes, Rashid, Ahmed, Archer, Topley. Bangladesh v England, 9am.
on Sky Sports Main Event from 8.30am.