Warwickshire hope to be boosted by the return of England one-day international all-rounder Chris Woakes when they return to Friends Life t20 action against Nottinghamshire at Edgbaston on Wednesday June 8.
The 22-year-old Woakes has been sidelined for a month by sore shins, an absence which ruled him out of the England Lions side for their tour match against Sri Lanka at Derby and the chance to press his claims for promotion to the Test squad.
Woakes, who made his England senior debut in the Twenty20 internationals in Australia in January, was also forced to sit out Warwickshire’s first three Twenty20 Cup matches but he is expected to return to action against Nottinghamshire.
“Chris should be available for Wednesday,” said Warwickshire’s director of cricket Ashley Giles. “Ant Botha is also getting there as well after his knee operation though he might not be quite ready to play yet.”
Warwickshire’s hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals suffered a setback when they were beaten by 40 runs by Northamptonshire on a slow Edgbaston pitch on June 5.
Though Warwickshire have won more group matches than any other county in the history of the Twenty20 Cup competition they have struggled to make it beyond the quarter-finals. Their only appearance in finals day came in the first year of the tournament in 2003 when there was no quarter-final stage.
Warwickshire have missed out on the three previous finals days at Edgbaston and the pressure is on them to qualify for this year’s extravaganza on August 27, a showpiece event for their new £32 million pavilion.
“We won eleven out of 16 last year, we were top at the group stages and we want to try to do that again,” Giles said.
“The first goal is to get to the quarter-finals and then we have got that big battle of getting through the quarters and getting here for finals day.”