Chris Woakes is “reassured” about being left out of England’s Test tour of India in the new year.
Woakes won the Compton Miller Medal as player of the series in the Ashes, inspiring England’s comeback from 2-0 down to a 2-2 draw, but has gone beyond the requirements for the five-match series in India .
By the high standards he sets for himself, the 34-year-old’s Test record abroad is modest, as he averages 51.88 with the ball, exactly 30 runs per wicket more than an excellent CV at home.
Having been given timely notice by England men’s cricket director Rob Key and Test head coach Brendon McCullum, Woakes is content to focus on white-ball cricket over the next few months.
“It’s mixed emotions,” he said. “You always strive to be there, but at the same time, at my age and with my away record – especially on the subcontinent – I think it’s a fair decision.
“We’ve talked about where my best cricket is likely to be played in the future and of course in Test cricket it looks like it will be at home.
“That doesn’t mean that if there are no subcontinent tours I won’t be available, but hopefully I’ll still be there.
“But I feel comfortable with the decision, if that makes sense. The communication was good, I know where I stand, so it’s fine with me.”
Woakes will instead go to the International League T20 in the United Arab Emirates, which begins in January, and hopes to be snapped up in the Indian Premier League auction for next year’s edition.
He was speaking in Barbados after meeting with England ahead of five T20 matches against the West Indies in preparation for next year’s T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and the United States.
His last visit to these parts in March 2022 came in the final throes of Joe Root’s captaincy, with a 1-0 Test defeat compounded by a knee injury that required surgery and sidelined Woakes for several months.
“I don’t want that to be the case when I go to India and bowl on tracks that aren’t suitable for my style of bowling,” Woakes said.
“Putting the front knee down at 34 isn’t really ideal if I want to play a lot of white-ball cricket going forward.
“It’s different if you just focus on that, but if you want to play all forms, it’s a smart decision.”
Despite being the white-ball vice-captain, Moeen Ali looks set to be ruled out for England’s first T20 match on Tuesday, which marks the start of the International Cricket Council’s stop-clock Test.
If a bowling team is not ready to start more than 60 seconds after the completion of the last over, they will be penalized five runs the third time and each subsequent over.
“We haven’t really talked about it yet, but I’ve seen the idea and it kind of makes sense,” Woakes added. “Hopefully it will speed up the game a little bit.
“When you’re out there in the middle you don’t feel like you’re playing slow, the game actually feels fast. The guys may share drinks or exchange gloves and other things, but the game feels pretty fast.
“But we are in the entertainment business and we have to make sure that the viewers are happy too. So I think it’s a good idea.”