SPEEDSTER Chris Woakes believes an injection of pace was vital in re-establishing his international cricket ambitions this season and seeing his endeavours rewarded by cricket chiefs with a central contract.
The Warwickshire all-rounder played the final three Test matches of the summer as England turned the tide against India with three crushing victories, posting 3-30 at the Oval as the tourists wilted.
Woakes was also an ever-present in the limited overs formats of the game and bowled a nerveless final over as England snatched a narrow T20 success at Edgbaston, with the 25-year-old adamant consistent work on his action has paid dividends.
“I’ve worked hard over the last couple of years and it’s slowly got quicker and quicker,” said Woakes. “I’ve put on a good yard of pace but I feel like I’m still accurate and can move the ball sideways.
“My main attribute was my ability to swing the ball and I didn’t want to lose that. It’s been over a period of about three years and it’s good to see the rewards.”
Woakes was forced to bide his time before earning a recall after struggling on Test debut in the final match of the 2013 Ashes series, where he claimed an underwhelming 1-96 from 24 overs.
And while he has enjoyed a more regular run in the one-day arena, making a total of 23 appearances for England in limited overs cricket, Woakes is now firmly focused on seeing his name more consistently associated with the England set-up.
“I’ve always said it’s better to be in squads than not to be and it was frustrating at times carrying the drinks but hard work does pay off,” he added. “I got my spot and felt like I did pretty well. There’s a lot of cricket before the World Cup and hopefully I can get on the tour of Sri Lanka and do well.”