Thursday 4 October 2012 

Woakes set for New Zealand as Wellington's overseas player


Warwickshire all-rounder Chris Woakes has signed a contract to be the Wellington Firebirds overseas player in New Zealand’s domestic competitions between November and January.

Linking up with fellow Bear Jeetan Patel, Woakes (23) is scheduled to play three First Class (four-day) matches for Wellington and will make his debut in the Plunket Shield on 26 November against the Auckland Aces at Eden Park.

He will also feature in eight HRV Cup t20 matches and the playoffs should the Firebirds qualify.

Commenting on the deal, Chris said: “Joining Wellington as the Club’s overseas player is a great opportunity for me, and I’m really looking forward to joining up with Jeets and the rest of the Firebirds squad. With James Franklin and Jesse Ryder also in the team I’m sure it’s one can challenge for honours.

“With England starting a full tour of New Zealand in February next year, it’s also a really good chance for me to make a big impression and hopefully the selectors will be following my progress and seeing what I can do in these conditions.”

Woakes – who has played six ODIs and three t20 Internationals for England – helped the Bears to their seventh LV County Championship title in 2012 with 27 wickets in eight matches at an average of 25.22, as well as scoring 431 runs at an average of 71.83, with two hundreds.

Wellington finished fourth in last season’s Plunket Shield and will have started the season with two Plunkett Shield and two HRV Cup t20 matches when Woakes arrives.

Peter Clinton, Chief Executive at Crick Wellington, said: “We identified Chris quite some time ago as the sort of player we were after; a fast bowling all-rounder and a boundary hitter in the T20 mould.

“He's an exciting young player and he has coped with the pressure of international cricket."

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