I only did what comes naturally, says Woakes

Warwickshire man's Twenty20 heroics at Adelaide suggest he has what it takes to join England's growing fast bowling battalion

If he never does anything remotely like it again – and he may do plenty – Chris Woakes will remember his first international forever. In on a hat-trick, England suddenly reeling, the packed crowd baying for Pommie blood and he proceeds to hook the quickest bowler on the planet for six, score three off the final two balls and ensure that England are home by a measly wicket and have set a new record for the most consecutive wins in Twenty20.

So how was that for the 21-year-old greenhorn from the Midlands? "The adrenalin was running and it was like any other cricket match," he said. "I know there was a bit more on it but I just tried to be in the same zone as if I was playing for Warwickshire."

It was not like any other cricket match at all, of course. It was England against Australia, the Twenty20 world champions against their oldest enemy seeking desperately to regain a scintilla of self-respect and sensing the opportunity to do so. But what Woakes did so wonderfully was treat it as though it was any other old game.

The sheer nervelessness, the calmness in the face of Australia's barrage, was extraordinary. "You can learn it, but it is a natural thing for me," he said. "It is the way I've been brought up by my family. They have been a big influence on me and that is the way they have brought me up which helps."

He did not put a foot wrong and when he stood tall and smashed Shaun Tait into the far distant stands it was an example of putting feet and his entire other bodily parts right. It was then that you sensed England, who had messed things up a bit in their pursuit of 158 to win their eighth consecutive T20 game, could prevail.

Tait, who was bowling in excess of 90mph for most of his four overs, was not amused. But Woakes merely retained his composure, showing neither excitement nor pleasure, similar to the manner in which he reflected on his memorable debut yesterday. He even managed to plan for the bouncer which he plundered so ferociously. "I had a feeling I might get one in that over, so I was preparing myself for it," he said. "When the ball is coming down that fast you just have to watch it and at the end of the day it's between bat and ball and I was just watching the ball out of the hand. He gave me a bit of gyp but you just have to expect that, it's Australia against England and you take it with a pinch of salt. I'm sure there will be more to come as well."

It is as a seam bowler, however, that Woakes will forge an international career, if he should forge one at all. He opened the bowling for England on Wednesday night, unexpectedly perhaps but it was a smart move for it helped to ensure he did not have time to become nervous by waiting and that Australia's opening pair had not built up a head of steam.

He responded as well as he did with his batting and if his second over betrayed apprehension he recovered well later in the innings and was rewarded with his first international wicket, that of Australia's new T20 captain, Cameron White. He bowled straight, he had control, he is another in England's currently well-stocked bowling resources. Woakes has been quietly impressive since making his debut for Warwickshire as an 18-year-old in 2007.

By the following summer he was a regular member of the side, marked out because of his accuracy and ability to learn quickly, and England have been clocking him since.

It is openly discussed in cricketing circles that for all his manifest virtues, Woakes may not be quite quick enough to trouble the best.

Warwickshire's bowling coach, Graeme Welch, knows this theory. Everybody does. "We could all do with another yard or two, couldn't we?" Welch said. "But he's put on a yard in the past year. He's got stronger. He now hits the deck hard and he swings it, he's got smarter, he's still maturing and he might get quicker. What impresses me is that he's in charge of his own game, thinking like a cricketer."

This testimony is not solitary. Ashley Giles, Warwickshire director of cricket and England selector, has said he would like to clone Woakes. Last summer was his most productive so far with 54 wickets at 21.57, which helped to keep Warwickshire in the First Division, and he also scored his second Championship century. For now, he is a bowling all-rounder rather than genuine all-round all-rounder, but Andy Flower, England's coach, saw enough of him in the Adelaide nets on Tuesday to put him at nine in England's order on debut, ahead of the more proven Graeme Swann.

Woakes might have been lost to cricket if he had not been offered a place at Warwickshire's academy at 14. Until then he was also on Walsall's books as a right-sided midfielder, but then decided to pursue cricket. "At the minute," he said, "it seems a like a decent choice."

Who is Chris Woakes?

Born 2 March 1989, Birmingham

County Warwickshire.

First-class statistics:

Matches 46, Runs 1,226; Ave 27.24

100s: 2, 50s: 3; Top score 136*

Wickets 154; Ave 25.55

5 wkts 8; Best 6-43

Twenty20 statistics:

Matches 34, Runs 133; Ave 26.60

100s: 0, 50s: 0; Top score 27*

Wickets 27; Ave 29.66

5 wkts 0; Best 4-21

Twenty20 details

Australia S R Watson, D A Warner, A J Finch, D J Hussey, C L White (capt), S P D Smith, T D Paine (wkt), S N J O'Keefe, M G Johnson, B Lee, S W Tait/J L Pattinson.

England S M Davies (wkt), I R Bell, K P Pietersen, P D Collingwood (capt), E J G Morgan, L J Wright, M H Yardy, T T Bresnan, G P Swann, A Shahzad, C R Woakes.

Umpires B Oxenford, P Reiffel.

TV Sky Sports 1, 8am-12pm.

Weather Heavy rain. Max Temp: 24C.

Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk