Woakes ready to stake his claim
Chris Woakes believes his game has improved since his England debut 18 months ago and that he is capable of challenging the current battery of pace bowlers for a regular spot.
Woakes has been called into the England squad for the third NatWest Series one-day international with Australia at Edgbaston tomorrow due to the unavailability of Jade Dernbach and Stuart Meaker.
The Warwickshire seamer would relish making his first ODI appearance in this country on his home ground should he be selected.
Woakes feels he has added an extra yard of pace to his bowling and hopes his batting skills will also stand him in good stead given the stiff competition for places.
The 23-year-old, who made his debut in Australia in January 2011, said: “It’s encouraging to know that I’m in the thoughts, especially with how strong English cricket is at the moment. It is nice to get the opportunity to show what I can do.
“I think the first tour for me in Australia went reasonably well. I think I’ve improved as a cricketer since that series and when I was last in the England squad.
“I feel my cricket is going in the right direction and I’m a much better player than I was back then really.
“I’ve worked on a few things with the ball, particularly in one-day cricket, a few variations. I’ve improved technically and that has helped me put on a yard of pace.
“I don’t know what speed it actually is but I feel I’m consistently quicker and hitting heavier lengths.”
“I just feel I’m a genuine all-rounder now and my game is in good order."
Woakes insists he relishes the strong competition rather than being daunted by the prospect.
“I thrive on the challenge,” he said. “English cricket is in a great position at the moment, particularly in the bowling department. The strength in depth is very good.
“It’s great to be selected considering that. It gives you extra pressure but it is great to be involved and I’ll hopefully thrive on it and challenge strongly.
“I don’t think I would be in the squad unless they thought I was of good enough quality to fit into that seam attack.
“If I get the opportunity, hopefully I can show what I can do and prove I’m that good.”
Woakes made an instant impression for his country when he hit Australian paceman Shaun Tait for six on his debut in a Twenty20 clash in Adelaide which England won by one wicket.
But he knows that will count for nothing when striving to regain his England spot.
Woakes said: “That was fantastic. To do that on debut was brilliant but that is in the past now. Hopefully I can look to the future and get back into the England team.
“I can’t really live off what happened 18 months ago so I’m going to try and get back and hopefully do what I did back then in the future.”
Woakes admits he would feel great pride walking out to play for his country on his home ground.
He said: “I’m from Great Barr; I’m as local as local can be. I’ve come through the ranks here at Edgbaston as a young lad. Warwickshire has been in my blood since I was 12 when I watched my first game.
“If I do get the nod, it will feel very special to walk out at Edgbaston knowing it is my first one-dayer in England. It will be an amazing feeling.
“But you have to put away those feelings because you have a job to do when you get out there.”