Chris Woakes ready to realise Test potential

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Football News

Chris Woakes feels ready to realise his full Test potential after spending three years honing his pace bowling craft.

The 27-year-old Warwickshire star has admitted he had to recalibrate his swing attack after working to add an extra yard of pace in a bid to thrive in the Test arena.

Woakes took advantage of Ben Stokes' injury absence to start the process of proving his Test prowess in the 2-0 series win over Sri Lanka, and now wants the chance to climb further up that curve this summer.

England start the five-match one-day series against Sri Lanka at Trent Bridge on Tuesday, with Woakes eyeing a strong performance to stand him in good stead for later challenges against Pakistan.

"I've always believed I've been good enough to play at Test level but I've dipped in and out a bit, and the series against India in 2014, it felt like I bowled well without getting the rewards," said Woakes.

"My better spells have come when I've had a little period in the team, so I've always believed I've been good enough but you still have your doubts until you do it.

"So from the Durham Test on it was a bit of a breakthrough really. I always believed I could but it was about letting people around me know it.

"I saw something that Cookie (Alastair Cook) said, when I was going to play in Durham, he said 'we don't feel like we've seen the best of Chris Woakes yet', which is understandable and a fair call.

"I feel I gave a glimpse over the last two Test matches of what I can give.

"With confidence going forward, I might be a shout for the Pakistan series, or with Test series coming up in the future, knowing that they can call on me and have seen what I can do."

Woakes answered England's call after Stokes' knee injury in the first Test against Sri Lanka put him out of the rest of the series.

The Warwickshire paceman knows full well Stokes will be in the mix for the Pakistan Test series that starts at Lord's on July 14.

But Woakes now feels he offers a far more rounded threat with the ball, as he bids to carve out a long-term niche in this England line-up.

"I'd like to think I have given the selectors a headache," said Woakes, speaking at a Sri Lankan inspired cooking event hosted by Royal London.

"But at the same time we know Ben (Stokes), if 100 per cent fit, he'll come straight back into the team.

"We've seen what he's done over the past 12 months, he's a brilliant cricketer, he gives the team great balance.

"I'd be stupid to think that, if Ben's fit, I'm going to play, but I might have given them a headache that I might be able to fit into the team even if he's just come back in and is involved again.

"Who knows what will happen, there's quite a bit of cricket to be played before then and my performances in the one-day series will count.

"I know it's completely different formats but if you're completely out of nick with the ball you won't get picked.

"It was a big process to add extra pace, it's been something I've been working on for three years or so.

"It didn't come overnight and there were a few technical issues, and when I first started doing that I felt like I'd lost some of my ability to move the ball as well.

"But I feel like I'm in a space now where I hit the pitch hard at good pace but still have my skills."

:: Chris Woakes was speaking at a Sri Lankan inspired cooking event hosted by Royal London, proud sponsors of one-day cricket.

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