Chris Woakes has joined up with the Kolkata Knight Riders for his first stint in the Indian Premier League.
And the all-rounder is on a mission to help power the Knight Riders to IPL glory – and complete a Birmingham Bears treble.
Already in 2017, Woakes’ Bears team-mates Ian Bell and Jeetan Patel have been part of victorious T20 campaigns. Bell was in the Perth Scorchers team which won the Big Bash in Australia and Patel was pivotal to Wellington Firebirds’ triumph in the McDonalds Super Smash in New Zealand.
So now can Woakes, after a year which has seen him established as a major player on the world cricket stage, make it a Bears hat-trick?
"Eighteen months ago I would have laughed if someone had said I’d be going to the IPL for that sort of price tag."
It is a challenge which really excites the 28-year-old.
“Hopefully I can follow the trend that Belly and Jeets have set,” he said. “Those guys have gone away and done brilliantly and put themselves on the map and the club in the map and if I can do well individually and help the Knight Riders to success then great.
“It’s an exciting prospect and I am really looking forward to it. Playing in the IPL is something I have always wanted to do but it had never really fitted in with the schedules. So now I’m looking forward to these six weeks and just want to learn as much as possible, playing with the best players in the world, and doing my best for the Knight Riders.
“It will be different going into a team where I don’t know many people but that’s franchise cricket. A lot of overseas signings go into teams they don’t know much about and do really well. You learn as you go and I’m looking forward to getting to know my new team-mates and hopefully doing a good job.”
Woakes arrived at the Knight Riders with a hefty price-tag of just over half a million pounds following his excellent year across the formats with England. He knows that such a sum is accompanied by high expectations. The Knight Riders will be looking for big things from him, not least in the role of death bowler after their loss of Andre Russell following his one-year ban.
“Eighteen months ago I would have laughed if someone had said I’d be going to the IPL for that sort of price tag,”
Woakes said. “It will be a good way of testing how far I have come as a cricketer. Playing international cricket is the highest pressure you can play but playing as an overseas player in the IPL brings a different added pressure.
Colin De Grandhomme Replaces Andre Russell for KKR
Kolkata Knight Riders have bought New Zealand allrounder Colin de Grandhomme as a replacement for Andre Russell. De Grandhomme has recently signed for the Birmingham Bears for the full Natwest T20 Blast season.
Colin boasts the highest strike rate of any T20 batsman in the professional game at 171.04 runs per 100 balls . He recently forced his way back into the BlackCaps team in all three formats following an impressive domestic season with Auckland Aces, which included 139 runs in four McDonald’s Supersmash T20 games at a strike rate of 220.63.
The Knight Riders begin their IPL campaign on April 7 against Gujarat Lions in Rajkot.
Under 16s Go Free
The first batch of tickets for Birmingham Bears NatWest T20 Blast games are now on-sale at the cheapest price of £15 for Adults and completely FREE for Under16s. Only a limited number of tickets are available at £15 for adults and the price will increase once these have sold out.
Click here for Match Tickets
Snap up a Season Pass
See the Birmingham Bears in all seven NatWest T20 Blast home games at Edgbaston at just £77. No two games will be the same, with exciting events planned around the cricket for every match, you’ll have a unique experience every time whilst cheering on Ian Bell and the team. Follow the Bears quest to bring the title back to Edgbaston for 2017.