With injuries (ironically) giving graham Onions a chance to add to his 9 tests on the New Zealand tour, (Ironic because of his 29-month long injury just after cementing his place in the England side in 2010) England needed to bring in a new back-up bowler. Welcome Chris Woakes, England’s understudy water-boy.
Chris Woakes has played in 8 ODI’s and 3 T20I’s since his debut’s in Australia, January 2011. He played his last T20I in June of that year and despite taking 6-45 against the Aussie’s in his second ODI, he did not play in the summer. (Apart from the ODI against Ireland, when even the coach Andy Flower was ‘rested’…) It is the first time Woakes has been selected in a Test squad, after it was Stuart Meaker who went to India. Probably due to lack of swinging conditions for Woakes to exploit, whereas with Meaker’s pure pace he was a solid back-up for Sub-continent conditions. Despite this, Woakes has rarely missed inclusion from any of England’s shorter format squads. Even though he only has 11 appearances with the England crest on, in the time England have played over 100 ODI’s and T20I’s. The 23 year old has been utilised mainly as a water-boy I feel bad for saying it, because he is a true swing bowler with enormous potential. But he seems to be the bowler that England keep in the sqaud, but when injuries come along, they will push another bowler up the pecking order above him. Meaning poor Chris Woakes misses out on another opportunity.
It seems Woakes is another England casualty of ‘throw him in the deep end-see if he floats’. It was 2008 when Woakes was noticed. He finished top wicket taker for Warwickshire at the age of just 19 and was put on the preliminary squad for the World T20 a year later. Your thinking, yeah that’s fine, he was the top wicket taker for a Division One side and showed promise, whats the problem with throwing him in early? Chris Woakes never showed serious promise in the shorter format of the game. His One-Day bowling average is 34.04, a distinctly average figure for a front-line bowler.
England billed him as a specialist in the wrong format, because of that he has missed out on a chance to cement his place in the Test team and instead will be carrying water bottles until more injury’s give Flower a reason to select him. Honestly, I hope I’m wrong. I hope Woakes will pass the water-boy duties back to Onions and get a serious shot at making an Ashes Test match in the summer. Just to prove to the Aussie’s the strength in depth we have for the coming years.
As always I would love to hear your opinions on this so please comment in the box below.