New Zealand news October 5, 2012

Woakes set for Wellington stint

ESPNcricinfo staff

Chris Woakes, the Warwickshire allrounder, has signed for Wellington to play New Zealand domestic cricket between November and January and is hoping to use it as an opportunity to stake his claim for a place on the England tour to the country next year.

Woakes was not included in either the Test or the performance squad for the trips to India before Christmas. He featured in a number of one-day squads during the English season although only played two ODIs and one of those, at Cardiff against South Africa, was virtually a washout. In his other appearance, at Trent Bridge, he took 0 for 35 in six overs although did score an unbeaten 33.

However, his form for Warwickshire throughout the season was outstanding. In the Championship he took 27 wickets at 25.22 and scored 431 runs at 71.83 as part of the title winning side. He also almost guided the county to the CB40 title at Lord's but was left stranded on 24 against Hampshire.

Woakes is set to play three first-class matches in the Plunket Shield and eight matches in New Zealand's domestic Twenty20 tournament, the HRV Cup. The deal will see him link up with Jeetan Patel, the New Zealand offspinner, who was Warwickshire's overseas player in 2012.

"Joining Wellington as the club's overseas player is a great opportunity for me, and I'm really looking forward to joining up with Jeets and the rest of the Firebirds squad," Woakes said. "With James Franklin and Jesse Ryder also in the team I'm sure it's one that can challenge for honours.

"With England starting a full tour of New Zealand in February next year, it's also a really good chance for me to make a big impression and hopefully the selectors will be following my progress and seeing what I can do in these conditions."

Woakes is the fourth English player to sign for a New Zealand side in recent weeks after James Foster and Steven Croft joined Northern Knights for the HRV Cup. Somerset's Peter Trego had signed for Central Districts. The country has been a popular destination in the past, too, with Andrew Strauss spending time there when he was dropped by England in 2007 and Steven Finn playing for Otago last year.

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  • John on October 6, 2012, 12:25 GMT

    Eng picking Woakes for ODIs and T20 because of his batting. To me he's a better version of Broad or even Bresan batting wise. I'll be happy if he can just hit his line and length consistently and add a little variation be it swing or seam more than adding a yard of pace. He might be the all rounder Eng has been looking since Flintoff retired. Remember he was injured this season. A good summer next year defintely gets him in the mix.

  • Dummy4 on October 6, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    Personally i see Woakes playing an important role at number 6 or 7 for England. His batting is good enough to get him into the test side with Prior moving to 6 and Woakes 7 or vice versa. THe fact he is an okay bowler is a huge plus. Unfortunaltey due to him not being the fastest i cannot see him getting n on bowling alone: rightly or wrongly you have to be pushing ino the 90's to get in now a days. He is a genuine allrounder though and will give Engand huge options and probably could just about get in on either dicipline. Stats aside he surely couldn't do any worse than Bopara/Morgan/Taylor et al have dne over the ast few years at 6 and e is a genuine option with the bal to boot - total no brainer in my opinion.

  • Martin on October 5, 2012, 19:35 GMT

    Bulk up? Please - why can't he just be himself?

  • Samuel on October 5, 2012, 12:25 GMT

    While I'm glad Woakes is off to get some cricket, I'm not necessarily sure it's a great option - with conditions being so similar in NZ to those here in England, I'd much prefer to see him going off to find some club or grade cricket in South Africa or Australia.I also wouldn't mind seeing him get into the gym and bulk up a bit, in an attempt to put a little more pace on. All that said, how England handle him is huge and I don't think they've got it right so far - as a bowler especially, he is very much a red ball specialist; all his bowling form and success has come in the first class game. He's struggled to match that in limited overs form, yet England pick him in ODIs and T20s. I realise with the bowling options England have he's not going to walk into the Test side any time soon, but he should at least be in and around the squad in order to get a chance at his favoured form of the game. I'll be keeping an eye on him over this winter to see how he goes.

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