Woakes: Best England years are still ahead

2016-06-22 22:08
Chris Woakes (AP)

Nottingham- England all-rounder Chris Woakes believes he has more to offer on the international stage after an impressive display in a tied one-day series opener against Sri Lanka.

Woakes's unbeaten 95 under the Trent Bridge floodlights on Tuesday was, remarkably, his maiden fifty in 116 limited overs appearances for both Warwickshire and England.

It was also the highest score by a number eight batsman in one-day international history.

Liam Plunkett may have secured the tie in dramatic style with six off the last ball, but without Woakes's runs England, who finished on 286 for eight, would have been well beaten.

The 27-year-old Woakes was named man-of-the-match after also taking two for 56 with his increasingly lively seam bowling.

It has long been asserted that it is tough for a bowler to become significantly quicker once he is established as a professional.

But the past few years have seen Woakes become appreciably faster -- and, as a result, more threatening to international batsmen.

"It's been a long process with a couple of technical things: firstly with my front arm and also with my run up," he explained.

"It was quite laboured in my run up but now I have more pace in it and more energy at the crease.

"It feels like the norm now but it hasn't happened overnight -- it took two years, maybe two-and-a-half."

A veteran of 44 ODIs, Woakes may not have been playing at all on Tuesday had fellow all-rounder Ben Stokes been fit.

But with Friday's second game in a five-match series at his Edgbaston home ground, Woakes is determined to prove that his Trent Bridge display was no flash in the pan.

"I feel like my best years are ahead of me," said Woakes.

"I feel more established as an England cricketer.

If Woakes feels increasingly at ease in international cricket, the same can also be said of England in the ODI format.

Their miserable group-stage exit at last year's World Cup included a nine-wicket thrashing by Sri Lanka.

But Woakes believes England, only denied this year's World Twenty20 title in a last-over final thriller by the West Indies, now have a far greater degree of collective self-confidence in white-ball cricket.

"We didn't do it in 2015, and that was our own fault," said Woakes.

"We back ourselves more, believe in ourselves."

England were 82 for six on Tuesday and all but beaten, however, Woakes added: "We believe we can win a game from any always know a partnership can give you a sniff."

Jos Buttler (93) and Woakes did exactly that in a seventh-wicket stand of 138 at Trent Bridge.

But Woakes accepted his maiden ODI fifty had been a long time coming.

"I should have more ODI 50s -- I have too many 40s. It's nice to get that monkey off my back."

As for nearly becoming the first number eight to score an ODI century, Woakes said: "You would have thought someone had smacked a hundred from there before.

"I was surprised, and it's brilliant to have that -- I hope I can beat it in the future."

As for the 'Woakes v Stokes' debate, the Warwickshire man says there's no reason why he and the Durham all-rounder can't play in the same England side.

"I'd like to think we can play in the same team but that's down to the selectors and coaches," said Woakes.

"The workload is very high in international cricket, especially for all-rounders like myself and Ben.

"I suppose there will be times we rotate and if that's the case, so be it. I'll be happy just to do a job for the team."

Read more on:    england  |  chris woakes  |  cricket

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