Woakes: I want to be an integral part of the Ashes

Woakes: I want to be an integral part of the Ashes

Warwickshire and England's all-rounder speaks to Deep Extra Cover about the World Cup, the impending arrival of Brendon McCullum, and the upcoming Test summer

Chris Woakes is raring to go for Club and country after a recent foot injury

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.

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