Chris Woakes on fitness ahead of World Cup and Ashes and England's T20I success
"Since I've got back from the Caribbean, I've had an injection in my knee which will hopefully settle it down and... get it in a good place ahead of the summer"
By Chris Woakes - @ChrisWoakes
Last Updated: 16/03/19 10:50am
In his latest Sky Sports column, Chris Woakes discusses England’s T20I series win, a feisty Second City derby and provides an update on his fitness as he looks ahead to the World Cup and the Ashes…
I'm really pleased to have signed a new contract and committed to Warwickshire and hopefully I can be a part of the team doing some good things over the next few years. It's always nice to commit your future, in my case, to my hometown team.
I should be available for the Bears for the first Royal London One-Day Cup fixtures. The County Championship game on April 11 might just come a little bit too soon because I'm going to have a bit of rehab on my knee and try and get that right before the start of a big summer.
Obviously, I love playing games for Warwickshire but when you're part of the England team, you miss quite a bit of county cricket for large parts of the summer. In one way you hope that you don't play that much for your county because it means that you're doing well for England. But, at the same time, it is always nice to go back to your county, hopefully put in some strong performances and help them along as well.
While we're on the Midlands, I was delighted to see Aston Villa beat Birmingham in the derby on Sunday, it was only 1-0 but eventful would be a bit of an understatement!
It's not nice to see what happened in the early part of the game with Jack Grealish. Regardless of what team you support or what game you're watching, it's a shocking thing to see and a cowardly thing to do.
A lot has been said about it, obviously something needs to be done regards the safety of players, not only at football grounds but in all sports venues really. I'm obviously delighted that Villa went on to win the game and I suppose it was a bit of justice for Jack and the team - and brilliant that he got the winner as well.
Since I've got back from the Caribbean, I've had an injection in my knee which will hopefully settle it down and then help me do some strengthening around it and get it in a good place ahead of the summer.
It's quite an important time for me at the minute, just trying to offload it a little bit and get it right and then hopefully I can hit the gym hard and train well and it the ground running ready to play the first one-day game for Warwickshire.
The issue with my knee is something I've been able to manage for quite a long period of time so I'm confident that I can still do that. I just need to maintain my fitness like I have done and as all the players do, especially the seamers because they're nursing injuries the majority of the time.
You just have to look after yourself and with such an important period of cricket coming up, make sure you're at your best physically, as well as from a playing point of view. Hopefully I'm heading in the right direction for that.
Obviously, the World Cup is just a couple of months away now and making sure I'm fully fit for that is all the motivation I need but if I need any extra, I only have to look back at the Champions Trophy a couple of years ago and getting injured in the first match.
It was so frustrating because we'd done a lot of hard work heading into that tournament, done some really good stuff as a team and turned a corner. I actually felt in a good place with my body and then it was a bit of a freak injury.
That can happen in professional sport, particularly as a fast bowler. But it does give me extra motivation to try and be fit for the next ICC global tournament, particularly with it being the big one.
We've been a really strong unit since the last World Cup, so hopefully we can maintain that and I'm desperate to be a part of that.
I'm not alone in that, of course, and a few of the guys in the T20 squad really pushed their cases in the series against the Windies. I think it's great for the bowling unit to see the depth we have.
A lot is spoken about our batting given the strength we have with the bat, it's up there with the best in the world, we realise that is one of our strengths but I think we've done some really good stuff with the ball over the last few years as well.
Sometimes that goes unnoticed because of how good we are with the bat. It's great to see some of the guys putting their hand up, it's not in the ODI format but whenever you get an opportunity, it's good to put in strong performances and show everybody what you can do - the guys who have been out in the Caribbean for the T20s have certainly done that.
It's great to finish off the tour with a 3-0 series win. It was a pretty tough tour with the results over the three series, so it was good for the guys to get some strong performances at the end of that.
Overall, I think it's been a pretty good winter. The Sri Lanka tour was good in terms of both results and performances. We went out there in tough conditions and proved to people that we can play in unfamiliar conditions and put in good performances.
We pretty much bossed that tour from start to finish, we did really well in the ODIs followed up by that one-off T20 and then won the Test series with a 3-0 series whitewash.
It an incredible tour for us that was good for us as an England team as a whole, not only to prove to people that we can do it outside of England but good for ourselves to show that we can put in performances like that in the subcontinent.
Post-Christmas it probably hasn't gone as well as we'd like. We wanted to put in some better performances during that Test series but credit where it's due, the West Indies played some fantastic cricket. And in a three-match Test series it can be tricky to get back into it once you go 1-0 down.
The ODI series was a bit to-and-fro, it was great for the neutral but not so great for the bowlers - a lot of runs scored! Chris Gayle was in sublime form, it must have been great for people to watch but we're a little bit disappointed not to get it right in that last game and wrap up the series.
A lot of people wrote off the Windies before the ODI series but they played some great stuff. It shows that the World Cup will be such a tough tournament with a lot of great cricket on show from all teams. On any given day, anyone can beat anyone to be brutally honest - that series proved that.
It was brilliant that the guys were then able to finish up with a win in the T20s and end it on a high. We can learn from a few mistakes here and there across the winter but as long as we're moving and growing as a team across all formats then I think that's the most important thing.
What we've seen for a long time is that if you put in performances in any form of cricket for England, it can have a bit of an overlap into other selections.
Not random selections, playing well in a T20 won't get you picked in Test cricket, but confidence is an important thing and if you're bowling well in one format, it can definitely be transferred into another.
Obviously, we don't play another Test match until the end of July against Ireland, which is a long time from now, but if you put in performances with the white ball then it can get you in a good place for an extremely important back end of the summer with the red-ball.
At the minute I'm conscious of getting my body back to 100 per cent ahead of a big summer but as soon as the cricket gets underway then I think the more performances I can put in in any format can only stand me in good stead for the rest of it.
There are places potentially available in that Test team, certainly it isn't set in stone, and with the Ashes around the corner, you want to be doing all you can so that you're in and around the squad for that.
Watch the World Cup live on Sky Sports Cricket from May 30 - the tournament starts with England against South Africa at The Oval.