Woakes: Anderson our No 1

After four years on the periphery of the team, during which the Warwickshire all-rounder has spent more time on the sidelines than in the middle, Woakes is suddenly a World Cup banker.

With Anderson and Stuart Broad unfit for the winter tour to Sri Lanka, Woakes was promoted to a central role and topped the averages with 14 wickets at 25.28.

He carried that good form with him in the Tri-Series opener against Australia, claiming an impressive 4-40 in a losing cause.

His stock may be higher than ever but he accepts that the return of Anderson ??? who missed Friday’s clash due to his nagging knee complaint ??? is key if the tourists are to find a winning formula.

England hope to have Anderson back to face India on Tuesday and Woakes believes that would be a big boost.

“We’re looking forward to getting Jimmy back, he’s our No 1 asset,” said Woakes, after touching down in Brisbane.

“He can get early wickets and he’s been England’s best bowler for a long time. But it was nice to get the nod for that first game and I was particularly pleased with how I bowled with the new ball.

“Sri Lanka was good for me and, with Jimmy and Broady not being around, it gave guys who have not played as much opportunity to stake a claim.

“I felt like I did that and I’m trying to continue it here. In the past I’ve been in and out and haven’t known if I was going to play or not, but it’s nice to know I’ve done it at international level now.

“It’s a confidence booster.”

Key to Woakes’ rise to prominence has been adding some extra pace.

There had been concerns that he was not quite quick enough to trouble the world’s best players, but he confronted the issue head on and is beginning to reap the benefits.

The 25-year-old may not be hitting the heights of Australia quicks Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins ??? who regularly top 90mph ??? but his recent output suggests he is heading in the right direction.

“It was a gradual process. I’ve been working on it for a couple of years now,” he said. “There were a few technical issues and I also feel I’m more energetic in my run up now.

“So there has been hard work and it hasn’t just happened overnight, but it’s good to see the rewards.

“Looking up at the screen yesterday, I was bowling around 140km per hour (87mph), and 18 months ago I was only bowling at 130, 132, 134 maximum.

“I definitely feel like I have put on a yard.”

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