Chris Woakes remains confident he can play full part in T20 World Cup campaign

Chris Woakes is confident of playing a full part at the T20 World Cup after taking a “risk” to be involved in England’s tournament-opening victory over Afghanistan.

Woakes returned to the England set-up last month for the first time since the spring after an operation on his left knee but was doubtful to feature at Perth on Saturday with soreness in his right quad.

He passed a fitness test to convince England he was ready and then collected a respectable one for 24 after bowling the penultimate over and three in the powerplay in his side’s five-wicket win.

Chris Woakes finished with figures of 4-0-24-1 against Afghanistan (David Charlesworth/PA)
Chris Woakes finished with figures of 4-0-24-1 against Afghanistan (David Charlesworth/PA)

England might shuffle their bowling options against Ireland at the MCG on Wednesday, with Australia to come 48 hours later, but Woakes claimed he is fit and does not need to be shielded going forwards.

“You do feel as though you can’t catch a break and that’s in the back of your mind,” he said. “But as a fast bowler you are going to pick up niggles here and there, and rarely do guys bowl at 100 per cent.

“There was probably a little bit of risk going into face Afghanistan but I was desperate to play and (England) were happy to go with my lead in terms of how I felt and my experience of how my body felt.

“It’s just with a muscle injury you can make it worse and with it being a relatively short tournament you don’t want it to get any worse. This was the game I was worried about coming too quickly.

“Having got through four overs and fielding for 20 overs, and getting through my fitness test, I feel in a good place. Fingers crossed, if I’m selected, I’m available for all five (Super 12s group games).”

  • v Ireland at Melbourne, October 26

  • v Australia at Melbourne, October 28

  • v New Zealand at Brisbane, November 1

  • v Sri Lanka at Sydney, November 5

England were collectively brilliant with the ball on a springy Perth surface but are now on the Australian east coast, which has been damper and cooler than usual due to the La Nina weather pattern.

The weather in Melbourne is notoriously hard to predict but showers are forecast on Wednesday and Friday, which might hinder England’s bid to move to within touching distance of the semi-finals.

But the conditions may also aid swing and seam which would be a boon for Woakes, who is unaccustomed to helpful pitches in Australia after struggling on England’s most recent Ashes trips Down Under.

“If it’s overcast and swinging around, I’m more than happy for it to be like that,” Woakes added.

“It’s usually hot sunshine and flat wickets here, so I’m more than happy for it to be a bowler-dominated tournament, but whether that’s the case I’m not sure.

Mark Wood, left, could be rested against Ireland (PA)
Mark Wood, left, could be rested against Ireland (PA)

“Hopefully the ball does move in the air, that certainly helps us as a bowling unit, so we’ll see. Maybe we’ll feel at home with all the rain.”

England might elect to reduce the workloads of Woakes and Mark Wood and bring in two of Chris Jordan and left-armers David Willey and Tymal Mills against Ireland, with one eye on Australia.

While Ireland started their Super 12s campaign with a heavy defeat against Sri Lanka, they defeated Scotland and two-time winners the West Indies to get to this stage.

Woakes is therefore adamant they cannot be underestimated.

“We know they’re a dangerous team,” Woakes added. “For any team to come through the group they’ve just come through, to knock out West Indies, you’ve got to be able to play some good cricket.

“They’ve got some dangerous players and some players we know relatively well from around the English county circuit. It’s a huge game for both teams and we’ll be looking forward to the challenge.”