Chris Woakes won’t let Ashes be a distraction during T20 World Cup

T20 World Cup
Chris Woakes England

Chris Woakes is determined not to get distracted by the Ashes, insisting this month’s Twenty20 World Cup demands England’s undivided attention.

Woakes is one of five players pulling double duty this winter, joining Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan and Mark Wood in both squads.

Head coach Chris Silverwood and his management team are also planning for two very different campaigns, while bosses at the England and Wales Cricket Board are still in negotiation over the finer details of the trip with their Australian counterparts.

England's Ashes squad
England’s Ashes squad (PA Graphics)

But Woakes, who came out of quarantine to join the non-IPL contingent in a first training session in Oman on Tuesday, made it clear that a global tournament should not be playing second fiddle to obsession over the urn.

“It’s exciting that there is an Ashes series around the corner…but there is a small thing of the World Cup first, so obviously I have my eyes firmly on that,” he said.

“We have a T20 World Cup to focus on and prep for and as soon as that is done and dusted our attention will shift. We have no choice, you don’t want to get to the end of a World Cup and think ‘I wasn’t fully engaged’.

“We have to give this our full attention – what is going on with the Ashes is on the back burner and with the people who are making the decisions, kind of dealing with that on our behalf. You can’t get too fixated on that.

“It is important we focus on the here and now. It is a great opportunity to win some silverware for your country. The Ashes stuff will have to be parked.”

While Woakes is shaping up to be one of England’s most important cross-format players over the coming months, he was only recently recalled to the T20 side for the first time since 2015.

In all, he was won just 10 caps in the format in the 10 years since his debut but as a 50-over World Cup winner boasts plenty of white-ball nous.

“I obviously would have liked to have played a few more but not having to concentrate on T20 too much has helped my other formats I think,” he said.

“I’d have bitten your hand off for the career I have had 10 years ago, so I can’t be too hard on myself. I certainly hadn’t given up (on T20), but at the same time I thought that maybe that ship had sailed.

  • Oct 23 – West Indies (Dubai)
  • Oct 27 – Qualifier (Abu Dhabi)
  • Oct 30 – Australia (Dubai)
  • Nov 1 – Qualifier (Sharjah)
  • Nov 6 – South Africa (Sharjah)

“I’d be lying if I said I thought I would get another go. I hoped I might get another go, and I wasn’t thinking of retiring from that format, but I thought they might have moved on from going back to me. I’m just delighted to be sat here and to have the opportunity to play another World Cup.”

England have lined up practice matches against Pakistan and the West Indies before their campaign gets under way against the West Indies in Dubai on October 23.

They also face group games against Australia and South Africa in the Super 12 round, as well as meeting two qualifiers from the first round.