England seamer Chris Woakes has revealed that it wasn’t an easy decision to skip the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). While the seam-bowling all-rounder admitted it would have been rewarding in terms of finances, he has prioritized red-ball cricket with the Ashes looming.
Woakes has previously played for three different IPL franchises – Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in 2017, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in 2018, and Delhi Capitals (DC) in 2021, and would have most likely found a team during the mini-auction on Friday, December 23.
With demand for seam-bowling all-rounders being high, the 33-year-old could have triggered a bidding war.
Speaking to ESPN Cricinfo, Woakes stated that he didn’t want to decide on his IPL participation purely from a financial standpoint despite knowing he could have earned big bucks. He elaborated:
“It wasn’t an easy decision, by any means. There’s still a part of me that wishes I could go because the IPL is a great tournament and financially it could be very rewarding – but I didn’t want to make the decision solely on finance.
“It’s a tricky scenario: having just won a World Cup, potentially stock could be high. The IPL is hard to turn down because the best players go there, it’s financially rewarding and it’s been brilliant for my career but the trade-off is that opportunity to play for Warwickshire, which I’ve always loved doing.”
The 33-year-old explained that his current priority lies in representing England in Test cricket and wants to do everything he can to push his case for the Ashes, especially after missing the 2022 summer. He added:
“It’s an Ashes year and I haven’t played much red-ball cricket. I need to suggest to people and remind people that I can play red-ball cricket and get through it – both from a fitness point of view, but also to show what I can do to try and have a go at being part of the Ashes.”
The right-arm seamer didn’t play a single Test in the summer of 2022 due to a knee injury and will likely feature for Warwickshire in the County Championship to have a crack at representing England again. While Woakes has mediocre numbers in away Tests, he remains a formidable bowler in English conditions, averaging 22.64 in 25 home matches.
“Winning an Ashes series where you play a really strong part would be extremely rewarding” – Chris Woakes
Woakes claimed there’s nothing like winning an Ashes and recalled the 2019 series against Australia in England, which ended 2-2. He added:
“Winning an Ashes series where you play a really strong part would be extremely rewarding. It’s something that I probably would like to tick off. The 2019 series was a tight one with some amazing games to be part of, but there’s nothing like winning an Ashes series. Fingers crossed, that’s something we, as an England team, can do in the summer.”
Australia rode on Steve Smith’s batting exploits to draw the series. However, they are yet to win the Ashes in England since 2001.
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