Woakes takes inspiration from Anderson
Record-breaking James Anderson is already passing on a legacy to England’s future as well as entering new wicket-taking territory in the present.
Anderson’s 529th international scalp, against New Zealand in Hamilton, took him ahead of the great Sir Ian Botham and out on his own as England’s most successful bowler.
It was not enough to get the tourists off to a winning start in a three-match one-day international series which resumes at Napier’s McLean Park on Wednesday.
Yet even if Anderson cannot always be a match-winner, he is a constant source of inspiration to those who ply their trade around him - including emerging cricketers such as Chris Woakes.
Warwickshire seamer Woakes was making his ninth ODI appearance yesterday - and marked it with two wickets, a deft piece of work to run out Kane Williamson and 17 runs from number seven.
It was a performance that gave the 23-year-old minor reason for satisfaction that he had let no-one down as he seeks to establish himself as an England regular.
As he does so, Woakes is privileged to be in the same team as Anderson - seven years his senior and happy to pass on the expertise and nous which has come with the experience of 261 international matches on his CV to date.
Anderson is not always the most demonstrative of characters, until riled by batsmen who will not yield to his will, but Woakes is full of praise for the example he sets.
“Jimmy’s quite quiet in that sense; he doesn’t really boast about things,” said Woakes. “But it’s a fantastic achievement to have that many wickets for England. He’s someone I look up to and who is a role-model for me. I’m really pleased for him.
“To do that over the amount of years he’s been playing is a brilliant effort. I’m sure he’s got many years ahead of him too, to go even further.”
Woakes accepts he himself still has much to prove, starting by convincing England he is worth his place in the first-choice XI. To that end, he is hoping much-improved batting may tip the balance in his favour.
“I’d like to think so,” he said. “Obviously, I got the chance to do that yesterday. In the games coming up, it’d be nice to score some runs at seven and obviously do my job with the ball.
“My batting is something I’ve worked hard on, and the higher I can get up the order and contribute to the team is my aim. I hope that can continue, and I’ve got a chance here at seven to try to do that.”
Woakes’ familiarity in the England side is helped by his relationship with new limited-overs coach Ashley Giles, who left Warwickshire - the all-rounder’s side - to take the role.
He added: “The fact he was there for Warwickshire for five years while I was starting my career is a little bit of a confidence boost, and means I can approach him at any point.
“It’s great to have him around, and I hope we can win this series for him.”