England in New Zealand 2012-13 February 2, 2013

Woakes makes bid for Bresnan role

ESPNcricinfo staff

Tim Bresnan has been given the elbow by England - quite literally - and that gives Chris Woakes the opportunity to make an impression in New Zealand. Bresnan's persistent elbow injury, seemingly not entirely addressed by an operation, has left an opening in the side for a bowler who can bat and Woakes is well placed to make an impression.

Woakes is hoping for an initial opportunity in two Twenty20 warm-up fixtures in Whangerei but his longer-term ambition is to be regarded as a convincing option at No. 7 in all three forms of the game, at a time when Bresnan has been sent back to Yorkshire amid comments from the chief selector, Geoff Miller, that he has lost a bit of his zip.

Woakes has not played in a T20 international since winning his third such cap against Sri Lanka in June 2011 but England's new limited-overs coach, Ashley Giles, is keenly aware of his progress with Warwickshire having previously been the director of cricket at Edgbaston.

"It's nice to have Gilo here," Woakes said. "I spent five years with him at Warwickshire. I probably wasn't expecting to be in all three squads at the start of the winter, but that's the way it is, and I'm obviously delighted."

With England hosting the Champions Trophy next summer, their ambition to win a first trophy in the 50-overs format has again been sharpened. The New Zealand itinerary, which comprises three matches in each of the three formats, offers Woakes an opportunity to press his claims in conditions that - although he does not sound convinced - will not be too dissimilar to those he would experience in England next summer.

Almost unnoticed, while England were winning a Test series in India, Woakes gained experience of New Zealand conditions in a brief spell with Wellington before Christmas. He stood out in T20 with runs and wickets in two separate fixtures against Central Districts.

"I came out here trying to get used to conditions before Christmas and get some cricket under my belt," he said. "I hope that'll stand me in good stead. The pitches here are quite bouncy and generally quite true, not so English-like in terms of seam movement."

As well as his one-day ambitions, Woakes knows that it would not take too much for him to make a Test debut in the three-match series, which concludes the tour.

"Test cricket is the pinnacle in my eyes, and every county cricketer wants to be there at some stage," he said. "For me to get a chance in that Test squad for the first time is fantastic. I feel like my first-class cricket has been really good over the last few years, and I hope I can take this opportunity with both hands.

"My bowling is probably my primary skill. But I feel my batting has improved over the last 12 months and is going really well. Fingers crossed, if that keeps happening, I'll be a genuine allrounder and equally strong in both suits."

Woakes' England colleague, Luke Wright, hurt his right hand during fielding and fitness drills in Whangarei on Saturday. He did not take part in batting practice but an England spokesperson said there was no need for a scan.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nicholas on February 5, 2013, 21:33 GMT

    Guys I think you're all essentially saying the same thing, in a roundabout kind of way. Somehow 1 good game out of every 5 seems to keep some players like KP in high, undropable status; players like Bell that are more accumulators get slated when they fail, and not congratulated enough when they do well. Bringing in Woakes instead of someone like Broad who has been off colour for ages (up until yesterday you might say!) in my opinion does not dent the team in any way at all. If the trial period fails, fine - re-group! But give him a decent run - not just 1 or 2 games.

  • Mark on February 5, 2013, 18:34 GMT

    @JG There is a fine line between loyalty and showing faith in a player to pull out of a slump and refusal to accept that it is time for somone else to have a go. We both agree on several bowling examples. If a side is winning individual form is not such a problem; recently it has been an issue because we have actually lost a couple of series, something that hasn't happened for a while, so the vultures have circled. To stay on the topic of the thread, using tours like this to blood one or two new players makes sound common sense to me: don't patronise the opposition by selecting a deliberately weaker side, but do take the opportunity to find out about players like Woakes, Compton, Root, Bairstow, Harris, etc.

  • John on February 5, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer on (February 4, 2013, 21:11 GMT) re "Ian Bell does not perform in Tests you can't pick him claiming that there is no one else" - Problem is England selectors won't say there's no one else but they still persevere with out of form players and I'm not singling out Bell- there hav been bowlers too

  • kieran on February 4, 2013, 22:53 GMT

    @Meety, when in form I think Broad would absolutely be an automatic selection for England. I've no idea what's happened to his batting, he's had a string of injuries, and I certainly wouldn't have him anywhere near a captaincy role, but he was still taking wickets at a good rate last year and he's still young with heaps of talent. Bit of a muppet, but i'd pick him.

  • Mark on February 4, 2013, 21:11 GMT

    @JG, I agree with you there. He had one chance in India, failed to make a score and was pensioned-off. He was unlucky in that Root had one chance and got it right brilliantly and has jumped ahead of all his rivals. I do rate Jonny B and, in a sense, England has an embarassment of riches right now with Prior, Bairstow, Buttler and Kieswetter all vieing for the gloves in the different formats. For a lot of players the struggles that he had against the Windies would have dented confidence, but he came back and did a superb job against South Africa in a losing cause. Incidentally, Nick Compton was an opener for most of his career: he only moved down the order when Somerset did not have an opening for an opener. Anyway, it's a matter of options: there are plenty of batting options right now and, as you say, if Ian Bell does not perform in Tests you can't pick him claiming that there is no one else. Woakes, Bairstow, Root, Compton all need to play in New Zealand and gain experience.

  • John on February 4, 2013, 18:40 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer - I feel sorry for Jonny. I wonder if they were thinking of doing the unthinkable (and not recalling Bell after he went home after 1st test) and maybe JB's personal probs (family illness) were coming on back then? Probably not. If not I feel JB has had a bit of a raw deal. Jonny isn't an opener and while Nick is a number 3 he has opened and deserved his opportunity - anyone who averages near on 100 deserves a chance. Bell should have made way by now. Sure he did well vs WI but if any rookie comes in and plays like he did in the rest of the 2012 series he would not be afforded that run. I'm ok about affording underperformers a run in a winning side (like they did with Cook) but would say they need to drop these players when the team are suffering

  • Andrew on February 4, 2013, 11:27 GMT

    @HatsforBats on (February 03 2013, 03:17 AM GMT) - well said. The first time I saw him (Woakes), I thought he had champion written all over him. Although I disagree with your 2nd comment - Broad should NOT be considered an automatic choice (I don't think he is up to it). @JG2704 on (February 03 2013, 17:47 PM GMT) - agree, Woakes should be given opportunities in NZ. @landl47 on (February 04 2013, 05:02 AM GMT) - Bell's average of 46 in Tests should come with a few caveats. He has plenty of holes in his stats, that unless he corrects in the next year or two, he'll be a genuine flawed batsmen. As for ODIs - he has improved, he needed to as he WAS quite ordinary. He has looked good as an opener in ODIs.

  • Mark on February 4, 2013, 10:53 GMT

    Chris Woakes averaged 48.3 with the bat and took 56 wickets @ 21.8 with the ball in only 11 matches in 2011. Looks convincing to me in combination with his 2012 results...

  • John on February 4, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    @landl47 Obviously we don't want 2nd rate all rounders etc but is Woakes that?On last seasons 1st class form I'd say a resounding no. I still maintain that our best series victory in the last 30 years was the 2005 Ashes.What was the formation in that victory? Flintoff was our all rounder and had a magic series but I wonder what his first class stats were at the time? Would they have been better than Woakes? Battingwise our 6/7 were Flintoff/G Jones for that series and if we did 5/1/5 now it could be Prior/Woakes which I'd say would be a better batting combo. Could it be successful now - who knows and there is only one way to find out. Remember the 5/1/5 team of 2005 was dismantled because of S Jones' injury in the 4th test and not because it failed. Re Bell yes a decent career average but I'm going on last year's form. In India he scored a ton in the last test but was woeful in the other 2.Take away that ton and the WI series and he had a woeful 2012 in tests

  • Mark on February 4, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    I should have added that Jonny Bairstow did not make the XI for the 4th Test (Root was preferred) and *then* his other issues started.