Coming off on the back of a successful maiden stint in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with Kolkata Knight Riders, England pacer Chris Woakes has insisted that he is absolutely fit and ready to play a pivotal role for the national side in the upcoming Champions Trophy, beginning June 1 at home turf.
Woakes said that the lessons he has learned in the IPL battle would keep him in good shape as England pursue their maiden 50-over global title.
“T20 cricket is a good experience to have behind you going into an ODI tournament because you still have to bowl death overs in ODI cricket. And it is almost just an extended version of T20. So clearly it would keep me in good stead going into an ODI tournament,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Woakes as saying.
The right-arm pacer emerged as KKR’s leading wicket-taker this year with 17 wickets from 13 appearances, including his best figures of three for six in a memorable victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
He is now training with the rest of the England squad in Spain ahead of next week’s three-match ODI series against South Africa, where he and his fellow IPL returnees, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, are expected to undergo some of the more intense physical training drills, as England coach Trevor Bayliss steps up the team’s preparations ahead of the Champions Trophy.
And Woakes is adamant to use the opportunities to immerse himself in the tournament rather than outweighing the risk of starting the English season with fatigue.
“That is what we had to weigh up before coming here. Either take time off or come and have this experience. You don’t know if these opportunities are going to come around ever again. It might be a one-off for myself. You just never know,” Woakes said.
“So I did not feel like it was an opportunity that I could turn down. My body feels pretty good. As a fast bowler, you are always hurting somewhere. You always have to look after parts of your body. I’m no different. I feel good. I feel fine going back to England and hopefully playing a key part for England this summer,” he added.
England are slated to play three-match ODI series against the Proteas from May 24 in Leeds before beginning their Champions Trophy campaign against Bangladesh.