With the mind games in full swing, it’s starting to feel like Ashes which is just 3 weeks away. Chris Woakes, the England allrounder, who is set to play his first Ashes series in Australia in place of the controversial Ben Stokes, feels that he’s up for the challenge and believes they’ve already identified some loopholes in the Australia squad.
Woakes said, “The Australian bowlers have got some pace, [but] Pat Cummins hasn’t played much Test cricket in Australia, so it will be as much of a test for him as for me.”
Talking about facing some ‘chin music’, something that brought about the destruction of England mainly due to Mitchell Johnson, Woakes believed that won’t be the case this time round: “Everyone talks about having to drag your length back in Australia but I actually think if you look at the great bowlers who have done well there, Glenn McGrath was not express pace and bowled a full length in Australia and had great results. They’ve probably got more pace than us but in Broad, Anderson we’ve got two of England’s best ever bowlers, and along with myself and some of the other bowlers I think we have got enough to cause them problems.”
Woakes even went on to say that he believes that Australia are a batsman short: “I don’t think they’ve got a huge amount of backup bowlers apart from those three, guys who have got records of injury – if they break down during the series, what have they got coming through after that? They’re also missing a keeper-batsman at the minute, they’re short in that area, which is obviously quite a crucial position in every team”.
Talking about David Warner’s controversial comments, “The words he used might have been a bit extreme but it is Ashes cricket, it’s going to be intense. It’s two teams coming up against each other who are desperate to win and when you go to Australia you’re taking on the nation as well, not just the team. They’ll feel the pressure of that as well. It’ll be two teams battling hard to win a Test match and win the Ashes. You’d expect nothing else I suppose. I’m sure it’ll be intense on the field, they’ll be a few things said as you expect in any other series.
Woakes went on, “Maybe a little bit more intense with it being an Ashes series, a little bit more publicity, a little bit more press coverage, but it’s exciting and we’re looking forward to it. I never have trouble getting into the battle. Everyone does it in their own way, David Warner might want to chirp and get stuck in, other guys do it in completely different ways. You have to find what works for you, some people might find getting stuck in a battle distracts you from doing your day job. It’s each to their own and David can do it however he wants and we’ll just react by playing our best cricket, which is what I’m sure they’ll try and do as well.”
Talking about Ben Stokes, the all-rounder he’s set to replace; Stokes said, “Losing Ben as an allrounder means myself, Moeen and Jonny have more of a chance to prove our worth. If I am to bat higher up the order, I will try to embrace that challenge and look forward to the opportunity to score some runs for the team – to get in and score some big runs. I take my batting as seriously as possible. I know I have been batting at nine in recent Test matches but whenever I have played for Warwickshire I have batted a lot higher than that. I have always tried to maintain a mindset of a batsman”.
The first test will start from November 23 in Brisbane.