Where next for Chris Woakes?

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Photo by Sarah Ansell

Chris Woakes played in England’s last Test. He dismissed Stephen Cook for 115. Now he’s out of the team and out of the squad.

England like the idea of Woakes, but they don’t like that idea enough to commit to giving him a long run in the side. It’s understandable. When he does play, he rarely seems to take any wickets.

Sometimes he bowls badly. More often he bowls well but still doesn’t take wickets. The first Test of that South Africa tour was a prime example. Like an angry bad driver gesticulating at another motorists, Woakes can often seem to be all threat, no follow-up.

Woakes’ first-class record is exceptional, but it’s not easy to see him making it back into England’s Test team as an opening bowler. They’ve flirted with him, but there’s now too much distrust for a proper relationship. Does that mean his England ambitions are over? There are other jobs in the team. A dull and dutiful line bowler who swings it a bit can be a handy thing to have, particularly if that player can also bat. Woakes can definitely bat.

Yesterday, against Nottinghamshire, he made 121, batting at seven and if he’s keen to play Test cricket for England, maybe he should ask to go in earlier. It’s important to know your niche. A fourth seamer who can bat should probably try and do as much batting as he can, while an irreverent cricket site with no real authority should probably steer clear of making suggestions about how marginal England players should go about their game.


  1. Yorkshire have so far sent down 109 overs against the mighty Somerset, 109 largely fruitless overs (for the Yorkiemen) which have yielded just the four wickets, and three of those were crusty old has-beens.

    Far be it from you to try and influence the career decisions of marginal England players, but is there anything you might suggest the captain does to change the course of this match, possibly in the vein of bringing on an as-yet-unutilised purveyor of occasional dobbly filth?

  2. People whose names don’t fit into the running joke “Name’s back” are doomed to have no comebacks. That’s what you get for going against KC’s jokes. Stokes better watch out.

  3. The Woakes, Stokes, Foakes dream looks further away than ever.

    PS Anyone know what’s up with Sarah Taylor?

    1. Don’t despair. Should Woakes and Stokes ever end up at the same county and they play Surrey, there is always the possibility of a Foakes c Stokes b Woakes or similar.

      1. After greater consideration of the geographical realities, I reckon that we should scrap the idea of North vs South and replace it by “East vs West”.

        Less stereotypes to play up to, so likely a bit less edge to the game. But I think it would make for easier classification of the counties, as well as adding an extra dash of interpennininity.

      2. A quick google search suggests the word “interpenninity” has never been used on the internet before, and presumably by anyone anywhere anytime before, and yet this most promising coinage now graces Yer Maj’s fine website in two different posts!

      3. A Northamptonshire girl I knew at university once overheard us northerners discussing the Roses rivalry, and asked in all seriousness which side of the Pennines she was from.

        The trouble is that in county cricket terms, it’s still unclear. A line drawn from the Hampshire / Sussex border on the south coast to the Cumbria / Northumberland border at the northern wall of independence puts seven teams in the west (Derbyshire, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Lancashire, Somerset, Warwickshire, Worcestershire) and seven in the east (Durham, Essex, Middlesex, Kent, Nottinghamshire, Surrey, Sussex, Yorkshire). So far so good, but the line goes straight through the middle of both Northamptonshire and Leicestershire.

        There are a number of solutions to this. My preferred choice would unfortunately result in radioactive fallout contamination for many thousands of years, but surely that is a price worth paying for a decent cricket match.

      4. If you’re a fan of NUTS-1 (and with a name like that, who isn’t?), then Leics and Northants are part of the “East Midlands Region”.

        So in fact the problem is not one of correct assignment, since our statistical overlords have defined the status of your Northants lass for her, but of equitable distribution of counties. It seems the West is one short. However, the denizens of St John’s Wood would have an apoplectic fit if it was announced that their locale was henceforth to be considered “East”, when everybody in that part of London is prepared to pay a good few million for a postcode that begins in “West”. So it seems that Middlesex should play for their natural cultural, rather than strictly geographical, side of the country, and we can now throw in cross-Thames as well as transpennine rivalry.

    2. That’s enough Woakes, Stokes, Foakes jokes, folks.


      You can never have enough Woakes, Stokes, Foakes jokes.

      1. Hell’s teeth that’s excellent. I’m going to have to have some more T-shirts made. I recently had one made with Feynman’s path integral equation on it (with a quantum gravity term), and the title “The laws of physics underlying everyday life are completely understood”. I expected it would provoke conversation, but so far it has only provoked shunning. My kids talk to me about it, though, mostly in terms of not being seen dead with me while I’m wearing it.

        My next T-shirt project, currently on order, has the line “And god said, let the four-dimensional divergence of an anti-symmetric second rank tensor equal zero, and there was light.” I’m pretty sure the kids won’t have any problems with that one.

      2. Thought you’d like it 🙂 Bit upset you haven’t told me the answer to the Wilde one 😉

  4. Leics have been live-tweeting their practice match against themselves tonight.

    Top stuff. Social medias and all that.

  5. He was clocking 90mph in SA, but just seemed…very middling, average. Somewhat like Watson clocking the same speeds as Tremlett (85mph) in a test match, or even somebody his own height (Anderson) but just looking totally unthreatening.

    1. Is it just me who always found Watson’s bowling more of a threat than his batting? But in a canny line-and-length rmf kind of way.

      1. Boycs was always going on about how rooobish Watson’s bowling was. But he certainly applied holding pressure from one end, and statistically must have been among the very best bowling records (perhaps even the best?) for modern batting alrounders. He might not have threatened a wicket every over but since that over might not go for more than one run, that didn’t necessarily whack dents into his average.

      2. (Of course, I’ve got a bit of “no true Scotsman” on my side with this one – I’d likely argue anyone with a substantially better bowling record than Watson was unlikely to be primarily a batting all-rounder…)

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