Woakes: Anderson and Broad lift England

By Callum Dent

The return of experienced duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad will give England a welcome boost ahead of the World Cup, according to Chris Woakes.

The pair, with 292 one-day international caps between them, have both recovered from knee problems and are part of Peter Moores’ 15-man squad for next month’s showpiece in Australia and New Zealand.

The severity of their injuries ruled them out of the recent tour of Sri Lanka, which the hosts won 5-2, but they continued their rehabilitation with the England Performance Programme in South Africa and are now fully fit.

Anderson and Broad are set to return to action as England continue their preparations for the World Cup, starting with two warm-up matches leading into a Tri-Series with Australia and India.

“First and foremost it’s great to have them (Anderson and Broad) back, as a unit it lifts everyone,” the Warwickshire bowling all-rounder said.

“They’re world-class bowlers with a lot of experience behind them and it particularly helps the younger guys to learn from them. 

“We’ll see what happens, but hopefully I can still feature and play a huge part.

“Having those boys back is huge for us – it lifts the whole team. The amount of games they’ve played for England and performances they’ve out in can only give us a confidence booster.

“It definitely helps the bowling unit. As a younger player coming in and playing international cricket, with the experience they’ve got you can bounce a few ideas off them, see how they go about things and it can only be beneficial.”

The return of the two pacemen means places in Moores’ bowling attack are likely to be limited. However, Woakes – who led the attack admirably in Sri Lanka – is relishing the challenge of securing a first-team spot.

The 25-year-old said: “I had a good summer in England and did reasonably well in Sri Lanka, so I feel like I warrant my place.

“I have got to force my issue forward and try and make sure I get in the final XI for this Tri-Series. 

“Obviously if I’m offered the new ball again I’m going to take it but if the experienced lads are going to do that then I’m happy to fit in anywhere.

“Hopefully I can fit in the team as an all-rounder. I feel I can offer a lot with the bat as well as the ball.”

England play their first match since the final fixture in Sri Lanka, which took place on December 16, on Monday against an ACT Invitational XI in Canberra.

That is the first of two practice games ahead of their Tri-Series opener with Australia in Sydney next Friday and Woakes believes they will act as perfect preparation for what lies ahead.  

“Every game before the Tri-Series starts is a big chance for us to get into some form and build some confidence,” Woakes said.

“If you can win games of cricket before the Tri-Series starts, then that is going to be important for us. We will be trying to win that game.

“It is a good test for us, there are some strong players in that team who are used to conditions here. Hopefully we can get off to a good start and show some good form for us early in the tour.”

Monday’s clash will be Eoin Morgan’s first in charge since replacing Alastair Cook as skipper.

Woakes added: “We had a little chat out here yesterday before practice started, but it was short and sweet.

“Everyone was excited with the challenge ahead and what Morgy is going to bring to the team. He is an exciting player and I’m sure his captaincy will do the same thing.” 

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