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Woakes hopes to carry IPL form for England

England all-rounder was the highest wicket-taker for KKR with 17 scalps

Image Credit: AFP
Chris Woakes
Gulf News

London: All-rounder Chris Woakes is fit and raring to resume his England commitments after an enriching maiden stint in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 tournament, the 28-year-old has said.

Woakes claimed 17 victims in 13 matches with his pace bowling to emerge as Kolkata Knight Riders’ leading wicket-taker before flying out to join his England teammates in Spain ahead of three one-dayers against South Africa beginning next week.

The all-rounder said the IPL experience would stand him in good stead at the eight-team Champions Trophy as England bid for a first global 50-overs title on home soil.

“T20 cricket is a good experience to have behind you going into an ODI (one-day international) tournament because you still have to bowl death overs in ODI cricket,” Woakes told a website.

“And it is almost just an extended version of T20. So clearly it would keep me in good stead going into an ODI tournament.” Woakes, who was picked by Kolkata at more than double his base price of 20 million Indian rupees ($312,329), said he thought a lot before taking the IPL plunge.

“I had to weigh that up: either come to the IPL or take the time off. So I had put myself at a high price for it to be really worthwhile coming here. I didn’t expect to even get picked up. The fact that I did was quite a shock.”

England coach Trevor Bayliss, who guided Kolkata to IPL titles in 2012 and 2014, encouraged his players to play in the world’s most lucrative Twenty20 league. “He was very keen for us to go and experience it and come out here and try and develop our game. It is good that both Trevor and (England’s director of cricket Andrew) Strauss are backing us,” Woakes said.

“It is hard to beat that. It has lived up to every expectation. When you look back home and watch the games on television, you know that they are high-profile games, there is a lot of pressure on you as a player.

“You are under huge pressure as a player to perform, and it is good to be put in those positions.”

England begin their Group A campaign against Bangladesh in the June 1 tournament opener. Ashes rivals Australia and New Zealand are also in the same group.