With the opening game of the World Cup – coincidentally, against the same opponents – three weeks away, England are taking a precautionary approach with both players in the knowledge that they are the two hardest bowlers to replace in their provisional 15-man squad.
Asked if Wood needed to play on Friday to get some match practice before the World Cup, Woakes said: “A player with Mark’s experience can go straight in. He’s not the sort of guy who needs a load of game-time.
“Myself, I like games under my belt to build up confidence and get up to speed. Actually, Mark is one of the guys I’m very envious of, because he can steam in and bowl at 93mph (150kph) as we saw in the Ashes. I don’t think it’s too much of a worry if he doesn’t play in this series but hopefully he plays the last one [at Lord’s on Friday].”
Woakes himself took 3 for 31 in a single eight-over spell to end Wednesday’s third ODI at The Oval as a contest, and said he was getting used to the rhythms of 50-over cricket again. “It was nice to bowl an eight-over spell and pick up some important wickets,” he said.
Woakes was one of eight ever-presents in England’s 2019 World Cup triumph, and said he hopes to be able to feature in all nine of their group-stage games in India over the next two months. “You want to keep putting in performances like that to keep getting the nod, selection-wise,” he said.
“From a fitness point of view, these bilateral series are quite tight and there’s a lot of travelling. Although there’s a lot of travel at the World Cup, it looks like there’s more space between games so it does give you a bit more of a routine to recover and come back stronger and be fit for the next game.”