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Opening bowler credits teammates after personal accolade.
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World Cup winner Chris Woakes has passed on the plaudits from his England ODI Most Valuable Player of the Summer award to his teammates after allowing his achievements to sink in.
The 30-year-old held off fierce competition from batsmen Joe Root and Jason Roy to win the award by just five points from the former. He follows in the footsteps of skipper Eoin Morgan, who claimed the 2018/19 winter ODI MVP as a result of his excellent form throughout England’s tours of Sri Lanka and the West Indies.
The Warwickshire all-rounder is renowned for setting the tone at the top of the innings with his probing bowling, but he set the tone for the entire ODI summer with a series of excellent performances against Pakistan in the lead-up to the World Cup.
He was England’s top wicket-taker in that series with 10, and produced a memorable man-of-the-match display in the fifth and final ODI on 19 May when he claimed 5-54 and took home 53.50 MVP points as a result.
Although he wasn’t quite so prolific in the early stages of England’s successful World Cup campaign, the Warwickshire man grew into the tournament, returning outstanding combined figures of 6-57 from his 17 overs against Australia and New Zealand in the semi-final and final respectively.
Indeed, his return of 3-20 in the crushing win against Australia at Edgbaston was enough to earn him a second MVP award of the season, the first coming after his aforementioned performance against Pakistan.
- Chris Woakes, World Cup winner, has that sunk in?
- It has a little bit but it is going to be raw for a little while. The way we won the final hasn’t sunk in though. We felt like we almost lost it on a couple of occasions and to finally tie it and then go down to a super over, it was incredible. It was a great game to watch for any cricket lover but to be part of it was intense.We were almost dead and buried until Stokesy played a ridiculous knock to a tie it. For it to then go to a super over and even that finishing in the same fashion in going down to the last ball in a World Cup final, you just can’t ever imagining that being the case. It was crazy and I suppose it has sunk in that we are World Cup champions, it is special, it really is.
- Winning the ODI MVP, how pleased are you with your own performances?
- Really pleased, don’t feel like I started the World Cup as well as I went in the Pakistan series where I felt like I bowled well. But then I didn’t feel like I quite hit my straps or had the bit of luck you occasionally need with the new ball at the top of the order. From the middle of the tournament onwards I was really pleased with how I went with the new ball, I found the right length on different surfaces and was really pleased with that.You get the plaudits when you win the MVP but it has just been a great team effort from start to finish across the whole ODI summer everyone has put their hands up at different points and that is the beauty of this team. There is not just one or two standout players, we have players who can win games from 1-15 in the squad which shows why we have been so good over a long period of time and why we are world champions.
- How do you look back at the tournament?
- With fond memories, at the end of the day I have played in a World Cup with a bunch of mates, which is a real special feeling. Playing in this team is a huge honour not just to represent England but also to represent a great bunch of lads. We all get on and have a right laugh, which is sometimes hard to do when you are playing at the top level. We try to keep things simple and light-hearted but I will look back at the tournament with fond memories.We had some ups and downs throughout the tournament, but it only made us stronger. Having lost those games in the middle, we still believed we could qualify but with hindsight it helped us. It certainly wasn’t in the plan but in the long run it made us play knockout cricket two games out from the semi-finals and that helped us in a funny way as we played our best cricket when we needed to.
- You came into the summer with some injury issues, how pleased are you with how your body held up throughout a demanding World Cup?
- It is something people take for granted really. At the start of January in the Caribbean, I had a few issues with my knee which was made public and there was a lot of talk about it and whether I could get through these months with so many games and so much pressure. I was pleased how I worked with the physios and the strength and conditioning team to rearrange my programme, do the right things to look after myself to stay on the park while putting in some performances along the way.
- How have you enjoyed your partnership with Jofra Archer?
- I have really enjoyed opening the bowling with Jofra. He is a world class talent. For a young guy to walk into the international arena and perform the way he has is a true credit to the way he goes about his business as a cricketer and shows how good he is. By no means is he the finished article but he has everything, doesn’t he? He has that x-factor and a very clever bowler with it, which is probably the most special thing about him.He knows what to do and when to do it at the right times and as a young guy it is amazing really. I think we complement each other well, he bowls extremely quick at one end and I try to do my thing in hitting a length, it worked for us and we took wickets at crucial times with the new ball and I think that helped the team along the way.
- MVP rewards all-round performances, you even batted in the top three during the World Cup, something you enjoyed?
- I was really pleased I could do a job for the team against the West Indies when we had a couple of injuries and that was a big game beating the West Indies who are a very dangerous side so really pleased I could put my hand up and help the side out going in at three. Batting at three was a bit of a shock really. I feel I contributed with the bat in a couple of games, although I would have wanted to make a couple more scores but in this England team you don’t always have opportunities to bat for a long period of time which is a good thing because it means you are batting well.
- No time to rest, how much are you looking forward to getting the whites back on?
- It is extremely exciting. To have the world cup was massive but very quickly we have to move on to the Test stuff and switch our attention to what is set to be a huge series. The Ashes is massive and everyone is excited about it and wants to be part of it. The bowling stocks have risen over recent times and it’s great to have so much depth and I am desperate to be part of it and hopefully can find some form with the red-ball quickly and I can’t wait to get into that now ahead of the Ireland Test.