Chris Woakes was at his very best in the first ODI against Sri Lanka at the Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street on Tuesday (June 29). Playing his first ODI since September 2020, the right-arm seamer finished with figures of 4/18 from his 10 overs and played a massive role in England's five-wicket win.
The 32-year-old from Warwickshire recorded the most economical spell for England in ODIs since Stuart Broad's 2 for 14 against New Zealand in Bristol in 2008. Woakes also bowled five maidens, which is the most for England in white-ball cricket since James Anderson's stunning spell in Adelaide in 2002 (10-6-12-1).
"I have played a couple of games for Warwickshire which I felt got rid of a bit of ring-rust there, but since I've come into camp with England, I've felt pretty good. Certainly today, after the first two overs I felt like I found my rhythm really well and hit my straps. Obviously picking up early wickets helps, particularly as an opening bowler. I felt like I was in a good rhythm," Woakes told the ECB.
The pace-bowling all-rounder was named PCA Men's Player of the Year last summer, but didn't play for England for nine months due to a combination of Covid-19 complications, non-selection, and England's highly-debated rest and rotation policy. He made his return in the T20I series against Sri Lanka and played two of the three games.
Talking about why he didn't feature in the second T20I, Woakes said: "I can play two days in a row as you've seen me do that before, it's more the fact that I haven't played much cricket coming into it, and I'm happy to say it takes me a while to get going when I've had a little bit of a break.
"That is when I am probably at my most vulnerable to getting injuries, so in this early period of the summer, getting back to playing some cricket, once I've got some overs under my belt this wouldn't be an issue, but at the beginning I just need to be a little bit wary, that's all."
The next six months are going to be extremely hectic for England but Woakes wants to play as many games as possible. England are next scheduled to play three ODIs and as many T20Is against Pakistan before being involved in a five-Test series against India, followed by the T20 World Cup and the Ashes in Australia.
"I certainly hope to (be involved). I have had a little lay-off from playing for England. I want to play as many games as I can for England. There is a bit of rest and rotation, so there is something behind the madness of missing games of cricket.
"These discussions do go on, but at the same time I do want to play as much as I can. I want to play a big part for this team moving forward, hopefully across all three formats."