I’m not in the land of cuckoos – Chris Woakes doesn’t expect to walk back into the Test team

Chris Woakes is aiming to push himself into the limelight from the Ashes this summer but believes he would be in “Cuckooland” to think he can walk straight back into Tests after a year.

Woakes won the last of his 45 caps in the West Indies in March 2022, the series before a significant reshuffle of the team under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum, before missing the entire 2022 campaign and being plagued by long-term injuries. winter tax.

The 34-year-old managed to regain fitness just in time to help his country to the T20 World Cup in Australia and now has a red-ball revival on his mind.

Woakes made his first-class return for Warwickshire last week, taking five wickets in an innings win over Kent, and will be looking for more of the same against defending county champions Surrey over the next four days.

And while he is desperate to put up the kind of numbers that will see him move up the pecking order, it will be no easy feat for a side that has won 10 of its last 12 games while rousing the opposition to fixed twice.

“The first series of the Ashes at Edgbaston, my home ground, all that jazz, but I know if everyone is fit tomorrow and that team is selected, I won’t be there,” he said.

“That’s the truth of the matter. A lot can happen in two months, people get injured and lose form, but I’m not in the mood to think I’m going to play that first Ashes Test if the team is selected tomorrow.

“It’s difficult to get back into that team but there’s a very good chance, if we get it right over a five-match series, we could win a home Ashes so you want to give yourself the best chance to be involved in it.

“I don’t think I’ll walk back into the team at all but I think with my experience, my record in England, if I can put in some early season performances for Warwickshire in the coming games, yes hopefully that will give me a chance. of being in and around the squad.

“Looking back, I definitely stretched myself too thin. I was quite cooked by that West Indies series. The surfaces we played on were horrible to be honest brutal and that whole winter was nothing but physically and mentally tiring.

“I called Ben to see if I needed to change anything. Of course he couldn’t give me any guarantees about the first Ashes Test but he said ‘if you’re playing well and being around red ball cricket, of course you’ll probably be there or around’.”

While Woakes accepts he may not be playing on home soil against Australia in June, he hopes to explore new ground by making an appearance there in the orange jersey of Birmingham Phoenix.

Woakes talks to captain Stokes about his return to the team (PA)

Due to fitness issues and international commitments, the closest he has come to making his debut is a commentary gig, but he is keen to rectify that in season three and see how his white-ball skills stack up in the format.

“I haven’t played a First game yet, so it would be nice to meet the team. I want to have done it already but I don’t have the opportunity,” he said.

“You always want to make sure you keep moving forward and developing as a player. I’m 34 now but I still feel like I can get better and learn new tricks. You have no choice as a bowler because as soon as you are in the linen, it can be a tough day at the office.

“I’ve got my fingers crossed that I can be a good part of it this year.”

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