With England’s final 15-man squad for the World Cup due to be announced on Tuesday, pacer Chris Woakes has said that all the players in contention for a spot will be desperately checking their phones, wary of a phone call from the national selectors.With Jofra Archer’s impressive performances, his name is widely expected to be among the final list of players. That would mean one of the fast bowlers who has been with the team for the last few years will miss out on a spot, and while Woakes’ figures of 5/54 went a long way in potentially sealing his spot, he said he’s still ‘on edge’ about it.
”Everyone will be wary of that phone call,” he said. “Even if you feel like you’ve got a good chance to being in the squad, until you hear it from selectors’ mouths, it’s not quite set in stone.
“As a player you’re still probably a little bit on edge, in particularly with this 16 and 17 players. Everyone has performed at some point over the series. It’s a tricky decision for selectors and I’m glad I’m not having to make that decision. It has to be done I suppose.”
“It’s certainly driven everyone forward to try and improve, to make sure they’re on top of their game, to make sure they tick everything off in practice. Whenever you get the opportunity to bowl in practice, or bat or field, you constantly feel, not like you’re on audition, but like it’s an opportunity to show your skills. It’s certainly driven everyone to try and improve and it’s certainly showed in our performances over the series.”
On another note, Woakes also spoke about how it would be important for bowlers coming into the World Cup to take advantage of conditions at the start of the matches and pick up early wickets. Else the longer batsmen spend time at the crease, the easier batting gets on English pitches.
“With scores creeping up and up – not just 350-plus but 400 now – wickets up front and getting the best players out is crucial. You look at someone like Fakhar Zaman, if he gets in like he did at Southampton, he can hurt you and score quickly.
“As we’ve seen with our guys at the top, if they get in and get going, it’s hard to stop them. Wickets up front are going to be really important. We’ve done that reasonably well in this series. Hopefully that stands us in good stead moving forward,” Woakes said.
First Published: May 20, 2019, 9:26 AM IST