Their misfortune means I’m here – Chris Woakes understands cost of Ashes chance
Chris Woakes pointed to misfortune suffered by the injured pair Jofra Archer and Olly Stone as one of the reasons he finds himself in contention for Ashes selection this summer.
Archer was ruled out of contention with a stress fracture to his elbow sustained playing for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, while Stone will miss at least the first Test with a hamstring injury.
Woakes had himself missed over a year of first-class cricket following knee surgery before returning to play for Warwickshire earlier in the summer.
The 34-year-old has been recalled to Brendon McCullum’s England side for the match against Ireland at Lord’s which begins on Thursday – his first home Test appearance since he featured against the West Indies in June 2020.
The seamer took six for 17 on his last appearance against Ireland back in 2019 and is hoping another strong performance could kick open the door to Ashes selection.
“If you’d have asked me a month or two ago whether I’d even be in this squad – probably not, really,” said Woakes. “Looking at the pool of fast bowlers that were available, you stick Jofra (Archer) and Olly Stone in the mix as well, I might not have been. Their misfortune means I’m here.
“But that’s the game, isn’t it? Injuries happen and things do change quite quickly. All part of my prep this summer was to miss IPL, play some county cricket for Warwickshire and try and get myself in the space where, if I was to get the call, then I’m ready. Thankfully it’s worked out nicely for myself.”
Lord’s has been a fruitful ground for Woakes, playing host to his only Test hundred against India in 2018 as well as being the setting for three five-wicket hauls.
After a year in injury limbo, he spoke of his gratitude at being having given the chance to put himself in contention for the Ashes – the first Test of which is at Edgbaston in June – and an opportunity to banish memories of the 4-0 series defeat in Australia during the 2020-21 edition.
“I suppose (it has been limbo) in a way,” he said. “Last summer wasn’t nice, because I tried to put the surgery off. I didn’t want to have it until it was a last resort, but it did get to the stage where it was last resort.
“It wasn’t serious surgery, but you never know how you’re going to come back from it, especially as it was the front knee, bowler’s knee.
“Thankfully, the surgeon did a good job, I’ve healed nicely and it’s pretty good. It was a tough summer but the winter well from a white-ball perspective so I’m looking forward to this summer.
“Without a shadow of a doubt (there were dark moments), you go through days when you’re injured and you see cricket going on, not just England, any cricket with Warwickshire as well, you want to be a part of that.
“I think the older you get and the more cricket you miss, you think it’s an opportunity missed. To miss a whole summer was not ideal, and there are moments where you do get a bit dark, not overly dark.
“But it’s that feeling that you’re losing valuable time to be playing cricket, making memories and making the most of your career.”
ECB set to publish response to damning report on discrimination in cricket
Richard Thompson, chair of the ECB, unreservedly apologised when the ICEC’s findings were published in June.
Sam Hain reveals sleepless night before impressive England debut
The Warwickshire batter scored 89 to set up a win over Ireland in the second ODI.
Will Jacks pleased to take his chance to impress in England success
The batter made a dazzling 94 off 88 balls in the one-day international win over Ireland at Trent Bridge.
Sam Hain and Will Jacks star as new-look England beat Ireland at Trent Bridge
Teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed collected four for 54 as Ireland were all out for 286.
Will Jacks and Sam Hain shine as England post 334 against Ireland
Jacks made 94 off 88 balls while Hain hit 89 in the second one-day international.
Surrey close on title as rivals Essex beaten by Liam Dawson-inspired Hampshire
The reigning champions are 20 points clear of second-placed Essex heading into the final round of fixtures.
Ben Duckett at peace with World Cup omission and looking forward to India series
The batter has switched focus to his next duel.
Durham are Division Two champions after bowling out Worcestershire
With promotion already secured last week, Durham required a maximum of five points to clinch top spot.
Phil Salt knows there is plenty to play for ahead of the World Cup
Salt’s aggressive ball-striking and ability to double up as a wicketkeeper has earned him plenty of interest on the franchise circuit.
Jason Roy rejects England call as Tom Kohler-Cadmore added to squad
The experienced opener was ruthlessly dropped from the squad for next month’s World Cup despite being named in the provisional 15.