England’s fast-bowling stocks competitive ahead of World Cup: Chris Woakes

At 29, and with 80 matches to his name, the pace-bowling allrounder Chris Woakes is the most-capped bowler in England‘s ODI squad in the West Indies.

Ahead of the first ODI on Wednesday, Woakes sized up the No 1 ODI team’s bowling stocks with an eye on the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup and expressed confidence in the quality of competition regarding the pace bowling. The deadline to name squads for the World Cup is April 23 and these five ODIs against West Indies are a big audition for players pushing for spots.

Since England were knocked out of the 2015 World Cup, their resurgence as a strong ODI team has seen them reach No 1. Since the last World Cup, England’s leading wicket-taker is Adil Rashid with 116 from 73 games followed by Liam Plunkett (76 from 45), Woakes (66 from 46), Moeen Ali (57 from 65) and David Willey (48 from 42).

Plunkett, Willey, Mark Wood and Tom Curran are part of the current ODI squad and Woakes felt the competition was very good for the side before the World Cup.

“I wouldn’t say I am the leader of the attack in the one-day side, I just feel that I have a big job to do starting off the innings as a new-ball bowler,” wrote Woakes in his Sky Sports column. “I certainly feel like I am one of the most experienced players and I try and give the guys some of that knowledge occasionally but we have all got specific roles within the 50 overs as a bowling unit.” (READ: Tom Curran aiming to seal World Cup squad after fruitful BBL season)

“Liam Plunkett bowls at different times to me but his job is just as important, even though he is not opening the bowling. We bounce off each other and work well together, which I think has been shown in our nine series wins in a row. The competition for places keeps you on your toes – in this squad there is myself, Liam, David Willey, Mark Wood and Tom Curran fighting for spots and you always know that someone can step in if you put in some below-par performances.”

The Barbados-born Jofra Archer could also come into the mix once he becomes eligible to play for England next month.

“There are other players knocking on the door, too – the media are mentioning Jofra Archer, who is high-calibre, and one of the guys putting in performances around the world and trying to grab the selectors’ attention,” wrote Woakes. “It will be tough to get into this squad because it is a settled unit but you can obviously never say never. All I know is that this close to a World Cup summer no one is going to let that opportunity slip – everyone wants to cement their place in that 15.

“That goes for the batsmen, too – Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow and Roy would probably walk into every other ODI team in the world, so to have potentially one of those sitting on the side shows what a strong position we are in.” (READ: Archer has got to get into England squad somehow: Gough)

The first ODI between England and West Indies is at Kensington Oval on Wednesday.