Chris Woakes eyeing Ashes recall after first-class return

Australia have had a firm grasp on the Ashes urn since reclaiming it in 2017-18 but there is growing optimism in the English cricketing circles this time around as their team have won 10 of their last 12 tests under captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum, playing a hyper-aggressive brand of cricket that is famously labelled ‘Bazball’.

All-rounder Chris Woakes is eager to make a return to the Test fold with the marquee series on the horizon. He last donned the England whites on an underwhelming tour of the Caribbean on unresponsive pitches and – most importantly – before the Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes regime took over and revolutionized the way England go about their business. Considering the prolific success the current crop has achieved, Woakes understands it’ll take a lot for him to re-enter the Test set-up.

Therefore, with the summer looming, he called up Stokes to see what specific areas he should work on and acquire holistic knowledge of the prevailing ethos.

“It’s good to just touch base,” Woakes said to the Guardian. “I did give him a call and spoke to him to see whether there was anything I needed to change. But he was happy for me to just go about my business, do what I usually do and he was just like, ‘get yourself back into it, play some county cricket’. Obviously he couldn’t give me any guarantees on playing in the first Ashes Test, but he said if you’re playing well and being around red-ball cricket, of course you’re likely to be there or thereabouts.

“Having not been in the environment with the lads and the way it’s changed since Brendon and him had taken over, it seemed like a wise move to just touch base before I started my season. Just to see if there was anything I need to change. Anything that is being mentioned. Obviously, you hear all the noise from outside but I’m sure there are still messages from within the dressing-room which don’t get leaked or whatever.”

Woakes added that while he’s no longer a certain starter in the Test XI, he feels he has it in him to be in the mix. “I by no means expect to walk back into the team, but I feel like with my experience, my record in England, if I can put in some performances early-season for Warwickshire in the next few games, then hopefully that gives me a chance of being in and around the squad.”

Broadcast Schedule

England v Ireland 2023
ENG v IRE only Test, Lord's
1st June to 4th June
Start time: 11:00 am BST
WTC final
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