Woakes eager to impress Down Under
Chris Woakes is looking forward to putting himself “in the shop window” on the England Performance Programme’s trip to Australia.
Woakes is part of a 15-man party that will fly out to Brisbane on Friday, with Yorkshire pace bowler Ajmal Shahzad, who is already in Australia with the Ashes squad, set to link up with the group upon their arrival.
Should England’s Test side be hit by injuries, the likes of Woakes could yet be handed an opportunity to impress at the highest level this winter.
And the Warwickshire seamer, who was rooming with Steven Finn in Dubai when the latter was plucked from the Lions squad to make his Test debut against Bangladesh in February, is determined to further his chances by making a positive impression with the EPP.
Speaking at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough, where the squad were put through their paces ahead of the trip Down Under, Woakes told ecb.co.uk: “I’m definitely looking forward to it.
“You’ve got to try and prepare yourself for that next step up. You never know, there might be opportunities with injuries.
“Hopefully the England side stays the way it is, but if injuries do occur, the selectors are going to look towards the EPP for replacements, so it’s a great opportunity for us to put ourselves in the shop window.
“It’s just a great privilege to be in this sort of camp. I’ve never been to Australia before so it’s going to be a new experience for myself and another box ticked.
“With the Ashes being out there as well, there’s an extra buzz.”
Woakes enjoyed another impressive domestic season in 2010, taking 54 wickets at 21.57 to help Warwickshire avoid relegation from Division One of the LV= County Championship.
He also helped his county to a memorable triumph in the Clydesdale Bank 40 final at Lord’s, where they defeated Somerset by three wickets.
“It was quite an up-and-down year for us as a team,” he explained.
“In the Championship we were pretty poor up until the last six weeks of the season when we dug ourselves out of a hole by winning three or four of the last five games.
“We looked like we were dead and buried with six weeks to go and managed to turn it around really well.”
On his side’s CB40 success, Woakes added: “It’s probably the best achievement of my career so far.
“Obviously playing for the Lions is a massive achievement, but the pinnacle of a county cricketer’s career, if you don’t play for England, is to get to a Lord’s final.
“To do that at such a young age and to not only get there, but win it, was a massive boost for me.”
Although bowling remains his strongest suit, Woakes has shown plenty of promise with the bat in his short career to date and averages 27 in first-class cricket.
“I want to become a genuine all-rounder,” he insisted. “I don’t think I’m quite there yet, I’ve still got a bit of work to do on my batting but it’s definitely going in the right direction. I think I’ve improved my all-round game since this time last year.
"I work really hard on my batting and put in the hours. It’s just a matter of trying to get your time management right when you get to practice and get there earlier to get your batting or fielding done.
"Being able to perform well in all three facets of the game is quite a demanding task but it’s where I want to be and I’m willing to put the hard yards in to get better at it.”