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Eng vs SL 2021 – Chris Woakes keen to make T20I case after ‘wasted’ winter on tour with England

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Allrounder hasn’t played for England since September but could make T20 comeback after six years

Chris Woakes has conceded that his winter of inaction with England “felt like a bit of a waste”, and revealed that he had received an apology from the team management and the ECB over the shared car ride that led to him having to self-isolate on arrival in Sri Lanka in January.
Woakes has not played international cricket since last September, having travelled to South Africa, Sri Lanka and India without making it into the starting XI in any format of the game. He was recalled this week to the T20I squad for the first time in almost six years, and while admitting that had come as a surprise he said he would be hoping to push himself into the selectors’ thinking ahead of the T20 World Cup later this year.

“I haven’t been in this squad for a while and I look at this as an opportunity” he said. “It is great for me to be back amongst the squad. I don’t take any squad selection for granted, I am certainly not just here to make up the numbers – if I get a go I will be trying to stake a claim. I also realise there are a few injuries knocking around but that doesn’t take anything away from me being part of this England team and putting my hand up to be part of this World Cup – with two World Cups around the corner.”

T20 is the only format Woakes has had any game time in recently, initially at the IPL and then with Birmingham Bears in the Vitality Blast. After being named PCA Men’s Player of the Year last summer, Woakes was part of the ODI squad that flew to South Africa only to return without playing a game after concerns over bio-security. He then missed the first Test in Sri Lanka – a game he felt he was “a shoo in to play” – after being deemed a close contact of Moeen Ali, who tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival in the country.

When the Test team moved on to India, Woakes was repeatedly overlooked before returning home as part of the ECB’s rotation policy, then missed the three ODIs due to the logistical demands of travel and quarantine required to rejoin the England bubble. “I just want to put it behind me really and look to what’s ahead,” he said. “It’s certainly been a tough seven or eight months since last September.

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