Woakes relishing return of pace duo

Published: Saturday 10th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Chris Woakes believes the return of leading seamers James Anderson and Stuart Broad will lift the entire England squad.

Anderson and Broad, who boast a combined 292 one-day international caps, both missed the pre-Christmas trip to Sri Lanka with knee problems, with England going down 5-2 in their absence.

Their rehabilitation programme was primed towards being fit and ready for next month’s World Cup, as well as the forthcoming Tri-Series against Australia and India, and the pair are now ready to resume new ball duties.

That means Woakes is scrapping with fellow pacemen Chris Jordan and Steven Finn for a place in the first XI, but he sees no downside to the increased competition.

“First and foremost it’s great to have them (Anderson and Broad) back, as a unit it lifts everyone,” he said.

“They’re world-class bowlers with a lot of experience behind them and it particularly helps the younger guys to learn from them.

“We’ll see what happens, but hopefully I can still feature and play a huge part.”

Woakes opened the bowling in each of the seven matches in Sri Lanka, assuming a new level of responsibility in the side.

He reacted with 14 wickets, including a haul of six for 47 in Pallekelle which made him the first Englishman to take six wickets twice in ODIs.

The 25-year-old also offers a superior batting record to Jordan or Finn, with eight first-class centuries to his name with Warwickshire, and is ready to play any role on offer.

“Obviously if I’m offered the new ball again I’m going to take it but if the experienced lads are going to do that then I’m happy to fit in anywhere,” he said.

“Hopefully I can fit in the team as an all-rounder. I feel I can offer a lot with the bat as well as the ball.”

England split into two training groups for the second training day of their trip, with a potential selection hint in the first batting session.

Ian Bell and Alex Hales are vying to open alongside Moeen Ali in Monday’s tour game against an ACT XI, and it was Bell who joined Moeen for middle practice at the Manuka Oval.

The pair batted together for more than 20 minutes as England drilled game scenarios on the square, suggesting Bell will be given first chance to replace axed former captain Alastair Cook at the head of the innings.

Published: Saturday 10th January 2015 by The News Editor

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