Woakes keen to draw on home comforts
Chris Woakes is aiming to make the most of home advantage when he represents England Lions at Edgbaston this week.
The Warwickshire all-rounder has displayed superb form with the bat in recent weeks, striking back-to-back centuries in the LV= County Championship before compiling a valuable 92 in last week’s drawn series-opener with Australia A at Old Trafford.
However, after operating on a surface that favoured spin bowling in Manchester, Woakes admits the prospect of playing in more seam-friendly conditions - particularly at such a familiar venue - is appealing.
“It’s nice to have a Lions game at Edgbaston and hopefully we can force a victory and take the series 1-0,” the 23-year-old told ecb.co.uk.
“Obviously Old Trafford is known to turn quite a bit and there was a fair bit of turn on day one, so us fast bowlers took a back seat a little bit, even though I felt the seam attack did actually bowl well in not so helpful conditions.
“Edgbaston should help us a bit more from a fast bowling point of view. The wickets have been pretty good this year; they haven’t done too much but there should definitely be a bit more pace and carry.
“I’m hoping the fact I know the conditions pretty well might give me a bit of an edge over the opposition.”
While Woakes had displayed plenty of potential with the bat prior to this year, his claims to genuine all-rounder status are now undisputed.
His first-class batting average of 37.30 compares favourably to any of his county team-mates, with the exception of England Test duo Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell, and he continues to make strides with the ball, having already claimed over 360 wickets in all forms.
Reflecting on his improvement with willow in hand, Woakes, who generally comes in at eight for his county, added: “I feel like I am an all-rounder; I feel like I’ve proved that.
“It was nice to come into this Lions team and bat seven, and get the opportunity to build an innings.
“When you get in a bit of nick it’s nice to cash in and try and score as many runs as possible, because purple patches don’t always come around too often.
“I want to get as high up the order as possible. That might take time, but by scoring runs hopefully it will force that sooner rather than later. I just feel confident in my game at the minute.”
Further runs and wickets, for Warwickshire and the Lions, would also enhance Woakes’ hopes of representing England in Test cricket.
He has already featured in four one-day and three Twenty20 internationals, but is understandably eager to take the next step.
“Obviously my aim as a cricketer is to play for England - not just in the one-day formats, but also in the Test arena,” he concluded.
“Test cricket is the pinnacle; that’s where you want to be and I don’t know any player in this Lions team who doesn’t want to be there.
“I’m no different and if I can keep scoring runs and taking wickets maybe I’ll get my chance.”