Chris Woakes is encouraging England to take note of lessons learned at the T20 World Cup while in the West Indies.
England is now entering a crucial phase as they begin to focus on the 50-over tournament in 2027, following two weeks of training and three games with a young team. This marks the beginning of the real challenge for the team.
With the T20 World Cup only six months away, England will most likely only be playing in the Caribbean as the USA and West Indies will be co-hosting. Therefore, the upcoming five games are crucial in building confidence in the format and gaining familiarity with the local conditions.
Chris Woakes, one of the five players not participating in the one-day internationals, stated, “Of course you want to come out victorious in the series.” He is part of England’s squad for the T20s.
The focus is often on the outcome, but it is also important to plan for the future. Therefore, we should learn from our experiences and consider the circumstances and performances rather than just the final outcome. The ideal situation is to do all of these things and still achieve the desired result.
England has added five new players, namely Moeen Ali, Tymal Mills, Adil Rashid, Reece Topley, and Woakes, to their team for the T20 series. These players have a total of 241 T20 caps and a combined age of nearly 168 years. This infusion of experienced players shows a significant change in strategy for the team. Similarly, West Indies has also made changes to their team, including Jason Holder, Andre Russell, Nicholas Pooran, and T20 captain Rovman Powell. In comparison to these players, the ODI series was relatively easy.
Exactly thirty-one days following their final World Cup match, England’s training for the upcoming tournament intensifies. In their past twenty games, all of which were ODIs, there were some memorable moments but overall it wasn’t very enjoyable. They are looking forward to shifting their focus. However, they are aware that they have only played six T20s since winning the World Cup in Melbourne last year, and have lost four of them.
Having faced a major defeat in India, it would be a significant achievement to defeat the West Indies squad, whose current ranking in the format (seventh) does not accurately represent their team’s overall strength and exceptional batting abilities.
The first game on Tuesday will feature a new aspect of procedural variety with the addition of a timed trial. This trial will now be implemented in all white-ball international matches until April. Teams must be prepared to start bowling the first ball of each over within 60 seconds of the previous over ending. If they are unable to do so, they will receive two warnings before any subsequent offenses result in a five-run reduction from their overall score.
Woakes commented that the proposed changes to the game seem logical and may help to increase the pace. He also mentioned that while playing on the field, it doesn’t feel like the game is slow, even with breaks for drinks or equipment changes. However, as cricketers are in the entertainment industry, it is important to keep the viewers satisfied, making these adjustments a positive step.
On Monday, England announced their team for the Test matches in India, but Woakes was not included. Despite being the standout performer in the Ashes series last summer, he is now considered to excel only in home conditions for red-ball cricket. “I am always eager to make the squad, but given my age and my record playing away, especially in subcontinent conditions, I believe it is a just decision,” stated the 34-year-old.
We discussed where I am most likely to play my best cricket in the future, and it seems that will be at home in Test matches. I am comfortable with this decision. While I always strive to perform well in all conditions, it is something I have been working towards for a long time.
“My record in white-ball matches away from home is almost superior to my record at home. This shows that it’s not just about the conditions, but with the red ball, I have faced some difficulties. It’s frustrating, but I have put in a lot of effort. I have tried various skills, but unfortunately, they haven’t been as effective in the Test game away from home.”
The choice indicates that Woakes will primarily focus on T20 games for the next six months, participating in the ILT20 in the United Arab Emirates from January to February. He may also join the Indian Premier League if he is selected in the upcoming auction.