Chris Woakes says winter with England 'felt like a bit of a waste' after failing to make an appearance
Chris Woakes reflects on "frustrating winter" with England and rues cab-share with Moeen Ali which meant he had to isolate and subsequently missed out on playing in Sri Lanka; Woakes could now first T20I appearance since 2015 and is targeting World Cup spot
Last Updated: 20/06/21 4:20pm
Chris Woakes says his winter with England "felt like a bit of a waste" as he failed to make an appearance for his country.
The all-rounder was named PCA Men's Player of the Year last summer after starring for England with bat and ball.
But he has not played for his nation since a one-day international against Australia in September 2020 due to a combination of Covid-19 complications, non-selection, and England's highly-debated rest and rotation policy.
Woakes felt he was a "shoo in" to play in January's Test series against Sri Lanka but then had to self-isolate after being in close contact with Moeen Ali, who tested positive for coronavirus upon arrival on the island.
"It was a frustrating winter for me," said Woakes, who could make his international comeback against Sri Lanka next week after being named in England's T20 squad for the first time since 2015.
"I was due to play in the ODI series in South Africa before it was postponed because of Covid. Then I had to isolate in Sri Lanka having been in contact with Moeen.
"It was a really frustrating time and not playing a single game all winter after the summer that I had almost felt like a bit of a waste for me."
Woakes shared a cab with Moeen to Heathrow Airport ahead of the flight to Sri Lanka and the ECB's decision for the duo to travel together still irks the all-rounder.
He added: "I felt like I was a shoo-in to play that first Test match in Sri Lanka [which England won 2-0]. What happened did have a knock-on effect and when the team does well it all of a sudden becomes difficult to break back in.
"I was a big, unfortunate event which did have a knock-on effect for the rest of my winter with England.
"It doesn't mean I would have played all the Test matches in the winter but I might have had an opportunity to put my hand and the thoughts around selection for the future Test matches might have been different.
"It was a big moment and there have been apologies but at the end of the day it is an unfortunate situation we were put in and I missed out because of that.
"I vented my frustration at the time and apologies were given. Every stone was turned but that was the thing that we did not quite get right and I paid a price for that.
"It was great to be with the squad but you want to be playing cricket and making the most of your form when you are hot.
"I want to put that behind me really and look to what's ahead, as it has definitely been a tough few months since September."
Asked whether he could have returned to the England side for the Test series against New Zealand after the postponement of the IPL due to coronavirus, Woakes said: "Those two Tests against New Zealand were put in quite late.
"The issue was as soon as getting out of isolation in London I would have had a few days at home then I would have to have played for Warwickshire to be available for any part of that series.
"There was also the tricky side of Covid restrictions. Once we'd made the decision it was never really an option to play the second Test match, you would have to have been in the bubble at the start."
The 32-year-old admits he is "surprised" to be back in England's T20 squad having last played for them in the format against Pakistan almost six years ago - but is now hoping to stake a claim for a place at the World Cup later this year.
The Warwickshire man added: "I didn't fear I had played my last T20 but I thought I might have played my last, so it was a surprise to get the call.
"I realise a few injuries [to Ben Stokes, Olly Stone and Jofra Archer] have given me an opportunity but it doesn't take anything away from me trying to put my hand up to be part of the World Cup.
"I have to look at it that way, I think. I see it as an opportunity and I am certainly not just here to make up the numbers.
"In many ways [not playing T20 internationals] has helped my Test and ODI career as to play all three at the highest level is pretty tricky to do, more so as a bowler and all-rounder.
"But it's great to be back amongst the lads. I haven't been in the T20 set-up for a while so I'm really excited."
Watch England's first T20 international against Sri Lanka, in Cardiff, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 6pm on Wednesday.