Chris Woakes insists he is ready to seize another chance in Test cricket if it comes along following his inclusion in England’s squad for the third Test against India at Southampton starting on Sunday, writes Brian Halford.
The Warwickshire all-rounder, currently on duty with the Bears in their championship match against Sussex at Horsham, has grown accustomed of late to being named in England squads but not the final XI.
That has led to him missing out with England while also missing county games as he finds himself in the sometimes frustrating position of being on the periphery of the national team.
But the 25-year-old has no complaints. And he would love nothing more than to help Warwickshire to victory in Horsham then head off to the Rose Bowl and make the cut for the final XI on Sunday.
“There is a fine line between playing too much cricket, so not being fresh when you get the opportunity with England, and not having enough cricket under your belt, so being rusty,” Woakes said.
“You need to play. There is no doubt you have to play to stay in competition-mode and I feel that I am getting the balance right by coming back and playing for Warwickshire which means I am getting competitive cricket and trying to win games for the Bears while also getting my personal form up.
“It is tricky but part and parcel of the game these days. I believe I am ready if the call comes at the Rose Bowl but I have just got to concentrate on this game with the Bears.
“My first spell in the first innings wasn’t up to the standard I set myself but it is a good batting pitch and if you stray in line and length you get smote to the boundary pretty quickly.
‘‘I thought I got better as the day went on which probably suggests I was a little bit rusty and this is not the ideal game to come into feeling rusty, to be honest, because it is a good batting pitch with not much margin for error for bowlers.”
Woakes is having to wait to add to his first Test appearance, against Australia at The Oval last summer. But he must be close to making the 11 for Southampton in the light of Ben Stokes’s continuing travails with the bat and the demands placed on other seamers by a five-Test series pretty much back to back.
“There might be a case for a bit of rotation with five Tests in such a short period of time,” Woakes said.
“So if I do get an opportunity it’s up to me to take it.”