Warwickshire all-rounder Chris Woakes, currently sidelined by a foot injury, spoke to Deep Extra Cover‘s Terry Wright about his development as a bowler, his experiences for England and Warwickshire and his hopes for the coming Ashes season.
Deep Extra Cover: How are you coping with the injury?
Chris Woakes: It’s frustrating but I’m trying to use the break to my advantage, to get fit and strong. The foot is healing well, although it’s been a slow process. There’s important cricket to be played so I just want to get out there for Warwickshire.
DEC: Moving onto your development as a cricketer, are you still a bowler who bats a bit or are you a genuine all-rounder?
CW: I definitely think of myself as an all-rounder, though I haven’t had enough opportunity to show what I can do with the bat. I’ve scored centuries and batted as high as six, but at Warwickshire, we’re lucky to have lots of all-rounders, so you have to force your way up the order by weight of runs.
DEC: And as a bowler? How is your bowling now compared with a couple of years ago?
CW: Well, I’ve got more experience which counts for a lot in cricket. You tend to get better as you get older. Also, I’ve put on a yard of pace.
DEC: Is the added pace a result of extra effort or just a natural development?
CW: It’s a bit of both. I’ve tinkered with my action and also I’ve just grown into my body. I know what I can and can’t do. It’s been a gradual process over two or three years.
DEC: Who are the coaches who have helped with your development?
CW: Well, there was Graeme Welch at Warwickshire, who began getting me to make technical changes to my action. Kevin Shine at the ECB helped and, more recently, David Saker. So I have a few people to thank.
DEC: On a Central Contract, is it frustrating when you are told you can’t play for Warwickshire?
CW: Yes it is. [Ian] Bell and [Jonathan] Trott always want to play and give 100% and I’m no different. Once I’m fit, I hope I’ll get the chance to put in some performances for Warwickshire.
DEC: It must be good to be part of a winning culture at Edgbaston?
CW: Yes- we started slowly last year and gained momentum. Having a chance of three trophies was exceptional. That creates pressure for this season because everyone will be expecting similar results. But the guys are ready for the challenge.
DEC: How do you feel about the signing of Brendon McCullum for the NatWest T20 Blast?
CW: What a signing that is! Everyone at the Club is excited. It’s fantastic for the players to have a quality player to learn from as well as for the fans to see a great player in action.
DEC: You’ve also still got Jeetan Patel as an overseas player, who’s just been named as one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year.
CW: He deserves that 100%. His performances over three or four seasons have been exceptional. As a friend of his, it’s great to see the recognition. He does the hard yards, never moans, plays in all formats and never misses a game. Everyone here at Edgbaston knows he’s a great guy and a great cricketer.
DEC: Looking back to the World Cup campaign, what are your thoughts?
CW: I really enjoyed being part of the England team in the World Cup. It’s just a shame that it unfolded as it did. We didn’t perform as well as we can. We were written off early on and we wanted to perform and prove a few people wrong.
DEC: Now there’s the Ashes campaign to look forward to.
CW: The Ashes is what everyone looks towards. It’s the pinnacle of your career. Having had just one taste of Ashes cricket, I want to be a full part of the team this time. I need to put in the performances for Warwickshire and get into the team for the New Zealand series.
DEC: Many thanks, Chris, and best of luck for a rapid return to full fitness.