Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
England all-rounder Chris Woakes has said that he is loving his first taste of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Woakes was bought by the Kolkata Knight Riders for INR 4.2 crore at the IPL auction in February and has taken seven wickets in six matches at an average of 28.42.
While Woakes is trying to treat the IPL like any other domestic Twenty20 competition, he admitted that there is one huge difference – the atmosphere during matches.
“We’ve actually been saying we feel we haven’t really clicked as a side completely yet,” he told Sky Sports. “We haven’t had a game yet where we’ve excelled in all departments.
“What has stood out though, is we’ve batted really well, particularly at the top of the order. I’m just trying to treat it like any other tournament – that’s the way you have to see it or you’ll put too much pressure on yourself.
“At the same time, it’s different to anything I’ve done before. The atmosphere at the grounds is completely crazy! It’s a challenge, but one I’m excited about and really enjoying so far.”
Woakes is one of eight England players involved in the star-studded tournament and confirmed that he keeps in touch with all of his compatriots.
“Yes, we chat,” he said. “We’re always on WhatsApp, particularly before games against each other, and arranging to catch up for a beer or whatever afterwards. There’s a bit of banter flying around the group.”
Woakes is set to be included in England’s Champions Trophy squad after enjoying a stellar 2016, but when asked what was responsible for his surge in form, the 28-year-old attributed it to taking a break from international cricket in order to work on his game.
“It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what it was that changed,” Woakes added. “I’d like to think though that it was a result of a build up over a period of time.
“I had to step out of international cricket for a couple of years to a certain extent – although I was briefly in and out of the side – and get my game in order.
“Particularly with the ball, I had to put on a yard of pace. I did that pretty quickly, but then almost lost the skills I had before. I found it hard to get batsmen out, because pace isn’t everything if you don’t know what to do with it.
“Then, when I was back hitting a better line and length, moving it around a little bit, at good pace, I got a decent run in the team, which really helped.”