Interview with Chris Woakes - All Out Cricket Magazine
Chris Woakes recently spoke to Andrew Bloxham of All Out Cricket Magazine about his career aspirations with the Bears and England.
Is Woakes The Answer To England’s Allrounder Conundrum?.
England’s Test side can already boast impressive strength in depth, but Andrew Bloxham thinks that there’s a youngster at Warwickshire who could be an international allrounder for many years to come.
As I pondered the ideal England bowling attack ahead of last month’s Test matches with Pakistan, an array of wishful (bordering on unrealistic) thoughts entered my head. Among them, indeed at the forefront, was that age-old obsession: the desire for a genuine allrounder.
England do, of course, have options, should they wish to play five frontline bowlers. Tim Bresnan holds a healthy Test batting average to complement his impressive bowling statistics, while Samit Patel can boast a first-class average the right side of 40 and provides a useful spin option. Both fine players, but could they be relied upon to consistently provide both runs and wickets?
The conundrum seems to have been settled for now, but one genuine allrounder that perhaps has the potential to eclipse both Bresnan and Patel is Warwickshire’s Chris Woakes. Fans have seen but glimpses of Woakes in an England shirt to date, but if last season’s returns are anything to go by, that could soon be set to change. Having recently turned 23, Woakes holds a significant age advantage over his rivals and, more importantly, the Birmingham-born youngster is rapidly improving and yet to reach his peak.
I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Woakes, and the Warwickshire man knows that he will need another impressive season if he is to force his way in to England’s plans.
“2011 was an incredible year for me personally” says Woakes when asked about his outstanding County Championship returns of 48.25 with the bat and 21.78 with the ball, “to better those in 2012 would be an amazing effort. I am hoping to be as good if not better with the bat, in particular, and will hopefully continue my form with the ball. To better an average of 21.78 isn’t the easiest, is it?”
He has a point, of course. Further reducing an already remarkable bowling average will take considerable skill and probably an element of luck, too. To put Woakes’ achievement in perspective, the current number one ranked Test bowler in world cricket, Dale Steyn, averaged 25.86 with the ball when playing in seven County Championship matches for Warwickshire in 2007.
Indeed, Woakes is of the belief that division one of the English County Championship isn’t too far adrift of the standard of Test cricket. “I do believe I would make runs at that level, but obviously the England Test team are the best in the world at the moment, which makes it difficult to force your way in. I feel that my batting has the potential to become more effective and allow me to bat higher up the order than just seven or eight.”
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