Chris Woakes: I am at ‘ease’ with never playing an away Test match again

Chris Woakes (R) - I am at ‘ease’ with never playing an away Test match again
Chris Woakes (right) was named player of the series in the Ashes despite only playing three Tests this summer - Getty Images/Stu Forster

Chris Woakes says that he is “at ease” with being dropped for England’s Test tour of India and potentially never playing an away Test match again.

Woakes was named player of the series in the Ashes, playing a leading role in helping England recover from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 after coming in for the third Test. But he has now been omitted from the five Tests to India, and will instead focus on his preparations for the T20 World Cup – which takes place in June, before the next home Test summer.

But, aged 34, Woakes said that he understands why England have not picked him for India. His remarkable Test bowling averages of 21.9 at home soars to 51.9 away, where he has taken just 36 wickets in 20 Tests. In three Tests in India in 2016, Woakes managed only three wickets at a cost of 81.3.

“At my age, with my away record – particularly in the subcontinent – I feel like it’s a fair decision,” Woakes said. “We had conversations about where my best cricket is likely to be played moving forward and naturally in Test cricket, it looks likely to be at home.

“I feel at ease with the decision, if that makes sense. The communication was good, I know where I stand so it’s fine by me.”

Woakes believes that not going to India could help to extend his career, after suffering a knee injury during his last away Test series, in West Indies in March last year.

“I wouldn’t want that to be the same case going to India, bowling on tracks which are unresponsive to my type of bowling; slamming the front knee down at 34 is not really ideal when I want to play a lot of white-ball cricket moving forward.”

‘In the subcontinent I’ve struggled’

Woakes has the highest difference between his averages home and away of any seamer with 100 wickets in Test history. He admitted his frustration about his struggles away from home.

“You want to perform in all conditions – it’s something which I’ve tried for a long period of time,” he said. “Particularly in the subcontinent I’ve struggled.

“With the red ball, I have found it a little bit difficult. So frustrating, but at the same time, it’s not through lack of effort. I’ve tried a lot of different skills and it just didn’t really suit my type of bowling away from home.”

Instead of touring India, Woakes will play in the ILT20 in the United Arab Emirates. He has also entered the Indian Premier League auction, which takes place on December 19, as part of his build-up to helping England to defend the T20 World Cup they won in Australia last November.

“I think the best way of me preparing is looking at the series, trying to perform as well as I can and there’s a lot of T20 cricket prior to the World Cup. Form can come and go so you’ve got to be on it every time you get that opportunity.”

Ahead of the five-match T20 series against West Indies, which begins on Tuesday, Woakes said that England are braced for the hosts’ big hitters, with Andre Russell returning to international cricket.

“Their firepower is there for all to see and they bat all the way down. So you kind of have to have the mindset that they’re going to keep coming, you can’t really ease off as a bowler.”