England Skipper Alastair Cook has called on Chris Woakes to step up and impress with the chance he has been afforded after Ben Stokes’ injury.
In the six Tests he has played so far, Woakes has put in some mediocre performances, recording a highest score of 26, and best bowling figures of 3/30 and Cook believes we are yet to see Woakes at his best.
“I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him yet in an England shirt, but he’s in fine form for Warwickshire a nine-for and a hundred in the last two weeks. We know Ben balances our side really well, but we need competition for the all-rounder place.” Cook told journalists ahead of the second Test in Durham.
Cook knows that Stokes is a player that fans come out to watch but feels his absence provides an opportunity to strengthen the depth of the England squad.
He added: “Certainly a lot of people want to come and watch him (Stokes) play, so he’s going to be a big loss for us, but injuries are part and parcel of a side and we need to learn how to play without him, and this gives Chris the opportunity to fill that all-rounder role."
England can wrap up the three-Test series with a win in the second test, and continue an excellent run of form at home which has seen them not lose a series a home series since 2014.