Chris Woakes is delighted to be back in England’s squad for the second Test of what he reckons has all the makings of a “special series” against India.
With Ben Stokes unavailable, Warwickshire all-rounder Woakes rejoins the squad for the Lord’s Test having completed his return to fitness by playing a Specsavers County Championship match and four Vitality Blast games for the Bears.
"“Edgbaston always delivers a great Test – so the Lord’s Test will be really exciting and we are set up for a special series.”"
Woakes will vie with Moeen Ali to play at Lord’s with the decision on which player gets the nod likely to hinge on the state of the pitch. But whether or not he makes the final XI, the 29-year-old is delighted to be back in the mix.
“Whenever you get called up by England it’s a huge honour,” Woakes said. “I never take it for granted but when you have spent a bit of time out of the team it means that little bit more to get back and be part of it. I am really excited to join back up, whether I play or not.
“A Lord’s test is always a special occasion and the way the guys played in the first Test they will be really pumped up for Lord’s. It was a great opener to the series – Edgbaston always delivers a great Test – so the Lord’s Test will be really exciting and we are set up for a special series.”
Woakes warmed up for his England recall with a match-winning, 23-ball unbeaten 57 for the Bears in their Vitality Blast game away to Northants Steelbacks on Sunday. He then bowled four overs for 42 as the flak flew in the Steelbacks’ reply, a rather different environment to that which waits in the Test arena at Lord’s on Thursday.
“Jumping formats is part of the modern game,” Woakes said. “I’ve done it quite a lot over the last few years. Red-ball cricket has a different ball and tempo and batsmen play very differently so you have to switch quickly but you find a way.
“It’s not like I haven’t played red-ball for months. I played a second-team game, then for the Lions and a championship game at Lord’s which finished only just over a week ago. I also trained with the England boys at Edgbaston before the Test and got some red-ball overs in there and I’ve got a couple of days at Lord’s this week so I’ll be ready if selected.
“It was nice to get some time in the middle at Northampton and score some runs which helped us to a win we needed. I always enjoy playing for the Bears. I get on brilliantly with the boys and love coming back and hopefully they will go from strength to strength in the group and qualify.”