Woakes relishing extra buzz of EPP tour

Warwickshire seamer Chris Woakes hopes that he will be in the right place at the right time over the next five weeks if there are gaps to fill in England’s Ashes squad.

Woakes flew out to Australia today (November 12) as part of the England Performance Programme squad for five weeks of development work including two four-day matches and a one-day game against state opposition.

Though most of the players are seen as potential international players of the future, Woakes is aware that the call might come earlier if the England senior squad suffers injuries.

“The fact that the Ashes is going on at the same time means that there is an extra buzz about this EPP tour,” said Woakes, an England Lions regular for the last two years.

“To be out there at the same time as the Ashes tour is a great opportunity for us. It’s an opportunity for us to better our games but, at the same time, the Ashes is a long tour and you never know what might happen.

“If injuries crop up while we are out there we are going to be looked at as possible replacements so I can’t see any better position to be in.

“Obviously you don’t wish injuries on anyone, but they do occur so there’s no better shop window to be in. If you are performing well and doing all the things right and doing well at the time they are going to look down to the EPP if injuries do occur.

“I’m just looking forward to getting out there and performing and getting that opportunity if it does arise.”

This will be Woakes’s second tour with the EPP following last winter’s trip to South Africa. Though Woakes is still only 21 he has been a regular in the England Lions set-up for the past two years.

The EPP’s coaching staff will be headed by David Parsons, the national performance director, who began his coaching career as a cricket development officer with Warwickshire.

Former England batsman Graham Thorpe will accompany the EPP squad in his new role as the England and Wales Cricket Board’s national lead batting coach, with Middlesex assistant coach Richard Johnson filling in for national bowling coach Kevin Shine who is unable to travel to Australia because of a family illness.

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