County news April 2, 2012

Woakes to miss start of season

Chris Woakes, the Warwickshire allrounder, will miss the first six to eight weeks of the season after damaging his ankle ligaments on Warwickshire's pre-season tour to Barbados.

He sustained the injury in the final of the Banks Barbados Cup Final at the Kensington Oval. Sliding to stop a ball in the field, Woakes' studs stuck in the turf in an episode reminiscent of Simon Jones' career-threatening injury at Brisbane in 2002. Warwickshire initially feared that Woakes had broken his ankle.

Woakes has been referred to ECB medical staff who have arranged for him to see a specialist to asses the length of his absence.

The news is a substantial blow to the county's Championship hopes. Woakes, 23, has emerged as a key allrounder in recent seasons and averaged 48.25 with the bat and 21.78 with the ball in first-class cricket last season. A bowler capable of swinging the ball both ways, Woakes might have been expected to prove particularly dangerous on early season wickets.

The injury also a setback to Woakes' own international ambitions. He has played four ODIs and three T20Is and retains hopes of forcing his way into the England Test side in all formats. He is expected to miss the first four rounds of championship games and the opening CB40 fixture.

Warwickshire received better news of Tim Ambrose, the former England wicketkeeper. He underwent hip surgery over the winter and was not expected to be fit for the first couple of rounds of games. But he is recovering ahead of schedule and is now hoping to be available when the club's season starts in earnest with a championship game against Somerset at Edgbaston on April 12.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo