Woakes 'honoured' to do his bit
Chris Woakes admits he is still struggling to come to terms with his match-winning debut against Australia in a thrilling Twenty20 opener in Adelaide.
The 21-year-old stole the headlines on his first night in the England spotlight as he hit a single off the final ball of a tense match to seal a one-wicket victory, a record eighth in succession for the world champions.
England looked like they might throw away victory following a late-order collapse which left Woakes and last man Ajmal Shahzad needing four to win from the final five balls.
It took Shahzad three deliveries to scramble a single, and Woakes kept a cool head to drive Shane Watson through point for two before hitting the winning run over midwicket.
“It hasn’t really sunk it just yet. I was just happy to make my England debut,” said Woakes, who finished unbeaten on 19 off 15 balls.
“It was a huge honour for me just to step on the field wearing an England shirt. It was a great achievement for myself and the team winning the game as well.
“At first I was number 11 on the sheet and didn’t expect to come in, but I got my promotion.
“I knew we batted down to 11. Aj is a solid number 11 so it was a matter of staying calm and luckily we managed to do that in the end.”
Speaking about his mindset as he faced the final ball needing a single, he added: “I spoke to Aj. We knew it was at least going to go to a super over so it was a matter of getting bat on ball to try to win the game.”
Woakes' debut display was also highlighted by his towering six off a short ball from Australia paceman Shaun Tait, one of only three bowlers to have been clocked at a speed above 100mph.
Woakes delivered the blow from just the fourth ball of his international career, and revealed he had been expecting Tait to pitch short after the pair exchanged words earlier in the over.
"Obviously he is one of the quickest bowlers in the world so I was just trying to watch the ball out of the hand," he said.
"I was just trying to get bat on ball so there wasn't much going through my mind apart from that to be honest with you.
"I was expecting a shorter one though at some stage though because he had been giving me a bit of lip."
Woakes denied, however, the exchange had over-stepped the boundaries of sportsmanship, adding: "That's just Australia versus England.
"There was a bit of chat in the middle. No-one stepped over the line. That's just cricket at the international level. You've got to expect that."
Woakes was pleased to play a part in extending England’s run of victories to eight - a record in the international arena and one which stretches back to their successful World Twenty20 campaign last May.
“It's a massive achievement for the lads,” he added. “To get that world record was another achievement for this side that has gone really well this winter out in Australia.
“It’s good to keep the momentum going that the boys have started over the last two months.
“The atmosphere in the dressing room is really great at the moment so obviously the lads are full of confidence. It's a great side to come into.”
England can seal the series in Melbourne tomorrow when a crowd in excess of 40,000 is likely to be in attendance.
Woakes admitted he had been nervous in front of the smaller crowd at Adelaide, but expects he can handle the cauldron-like atmosphere of the MCG.
"I think I'll cope pretty well. I was nervous before yesterday's game when there were 30,000 people, which is a pretty big crowd," he said.
"But I think it would be a bit wrong not to have nerves before your debut for England. I'm looking forward to it if I get the chance tomorrow.
Another impressive display would make Woakes a late shout for the 15-man World Cup squad to be named by Wednesday, but the youngster is not entertaining that idea.
"At the minute I am just concentrating on the game tomorrow," he said. "I can't look too far ahead. There's obviously guys who are out injured at the moment who might be coming back.
"The competition for places in the side is very high so it keeps you on your toes. I'll try to keep what I'm doing and hopefully I'll be selected for the next game.
"Before Christmas I was only with the Academy out here in Australia, so anything that might come in the future is just an added bonus."