Chris Woakes on England, the Cricket World Cup, Windies and Mark Wood's searing spell
"Farby has been instrumental to our success. I think his best quality is his ability to get players thinking positively and feeling good about themselves."
By Chris Woakes - @ChrisWoakes
Last Updated: 19/02/19 11:16am
Chris Woakes kicks off his Sky Sports diaries by looking ahead to the World Cup and back on Mark Wood's speedy spell in St Lucia, plus reflects on Paul Farbrace's impending departure as England assistant coach…
The World Cup is only 100 days away and it would be silly to say we don't have an eye on it. You have to have it in the back of your minds.
It would be easy to let your mind wander but we need to stay in the present and focus on what's ahead of us, which is five very important games against Windies. Hopefully, we can put in some strong performances and continue our decent run.
It was good to get a feel for one-day cricket again in Sunday's warm-up as it seems a million years ago that we played the white-ball stuff in Sri Lanka.
It thought it was a strong runout, with the batters setting things up and Jason Roy and Joe Root getting big scores and then the bowlers getting some overs in their legs. I think we all got what we needed out of it.
I wouldn't say I am the leader of the attack in the one-day side, I just feel that I have a big job to do starting off the innings as a new-ball bowler.
I certainly feel like I am one of the most experienced players and I try and give the guys some of that knowledge occasionally but we have all got specific roles within the 50 overs as a bowling unit
Liam Plunkett bowls at different times to me but his job is just as important, even though he is not opening the bowling. We bounce off each other and work well together, which I think has been shown in our nine series wins in a row.
The competition for places keeps you on your toes - in this squad there is myself, Liam, David Willey, Mark Wood and Tom Curran fighting for spots and you always know that someone can step in if you put in some below-par performances.
There are other players knocking on the door, too - the media are mentioning Jofra Archer, who is high-calibre, and one of the guys putting in performances around the world and trying to grab the selectors' attention.
It will be tough to get into this squad because it is a settled unit but you can obviously never say never. All I know is that this close to a World Cup summer no one is going to let that opportunity slip - everyone wants to cement their place in that 15.
That goes for the batsmen, too - Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow and Roy would probably walk into every other ODI team in the world, so to have potentially one of those sitting on the side shows what a strong position we are in.
Thankfully I don't need to make those decisions!
The final Test in St Lucia was certainly memorable for Woody's rapid bowling spell.
Woody was called in late as a replacement for the injured Olly Stone and as disappointing as it was for Olly, it almost had an air of 'it was meant to be' for Woody.
He has had some tough times with his ankle injuries so to see him come back and bowl that sort of pace got everyone excited. We knew he was capable of it but to see it in action was something special.
Having seen him in the nets, I sensed something would happen if he got the nod- he was electric in practice a day or two out, the ball was whistling through and made me feel like I was bowling extremely slow! So that wasn't nice from my point of view!
You felt that if he could take that into the game he could do some damage but to see high-quality batsmen jumping around and struggling with the pace he was sending down you thought: 'This is serious wheels'.
Everyone in the dressing room was excited and I'm sure everyone in the ground was, too, whatever team you are supporting. It was enthralling cricket.
I am a rhythm bowler and Woody, I sense, is similar - when his run-up, jump and timing is on that's when he will bowl at his quickest and when those things are right for me that's when I feel I will be at my optimum pace and get the ball moving.
Every bowler is different, various things make them tick, but I know I have had spells when I feel in the zone and when I run in I am not thinking about letting go of the ball, where my front arm is and where my feet are landing.
Woody spoke after his spell about coming through some self-doubt and that is something I can understand. At the top level, I think there is always a little bit of self-doubt and you don't really feel like an established player until you've done it at the highest stage.
Coming back from injuries is a really tough part - when you spend time alone in the gym that's when you think: 'Will I get back to my best? Will I bowl quickly again?' All of those things went through Woody's mind and makes what he did more special.
I wouldn't say he proved people wrong, he just proved to himself that he could still do it. So credit to him for his hard work as well as the people that have helped him along the way.
Paul Farbrace has certainly helped us so it is sad that he is leaving his role as assistant coach to move to my county Warwickshire.
Farby has been instrumental to our success - we have gone from strength to strength in the white-ball stuff - and I think he is a very good coach and motivator of players.
I'm not sure how much coaching he will do in his new role but Warwickshire have been very savvy - it's a great coup for the club.
I think his best quality is his ability to get players thinking positively and feeling good about themselves and taking pressure off them when they go out to perform. There is so much scrutiny on top players as it is that you don't want to put more pressure on.
I think Farby and head coach Trevor Bayliss are a bit different actually, but they bounce off each other really well.
People say Trev can be quiet in the way he goes about his business but he is very clever when it comes to talking to the group - he is very keen on players nailing the basics even in this modern era when things can get funky.
Net time is also important when you are not getting game time, as was the case for me in the Test matches.
There is only so much you can do in the nets but I have utilised the opportunity of intense practice and the chance to work on a few things you don't get to when you are in competition mode. I feel in a good place.
Yes, you always want to be part of the final XI, getting into the action, getting sharp. There is always such strong competition for places, though.
Sri Lanka was tough for the seamers - we only played two there plus Ben Stokes - while I picked up a little knee niggle in the West Indies and have been nursing that for a little while. That came at a bad time for me.
It wasn't easy watching us suffer defeat in the Tests against Windies - we are a squad that all pulls together whether you are playing or not and when you see how hard the guys are working but results aren't going your way it is hard to take.
It has been a bit of tricky period but you keep yourself motivated by trying to get back fit and making sure you are ready to go when called upon.
That's why I don't find it that difficult - you are part of an England tour and that is exciting in itself.
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