England all-rounder Chris Woakes opened up on opting out of the Indian T20 League 2023 mini-auction and said that it wasn’t an easy decision to skip as he had to do that to have the best shot at making the Test team for the Ashes 2023 at home. He has prioritized red-ball cricket with the Ashes looming.
Woakes previously played for three different franchises – Kolkata in 2017, Bangalore in 2018, and Delhi in 2021, and would have most likely found a team during the mini-auction on Friday, December 23 as the demand for seam-bowling all-rounders would be high.
“It wasn’t an easy decision, by any means. There’s still a part of me that wishes I could go because the Indian T20 League is a great tournament and financially it could be very rewarding – but I didn’t want to make the decision solely on finance. It’s a tricky scenario: having just won a World Cup, potentially stock could be high. There are obviously some other players who are likely to go big but I could have been next on the list behind them”, Woakes was quoted as saying.
‘It’s an ashes year and I haven’t played red-ball cricket’- Chris Woakes
The 33-year-old explained that his current priority lies in representing England in Test cricket and wants to do everything he can to push his case for the Ashes, especially after missing the 2022 summer.
“I had conversations with a lot of people and some with franchises as well, who sounded keen, which made it harder to pull out. But having not played any cricket in the English summer last year, it’s a good opportunity for me to set myself up for, hopefully, a really strong summer with England.
“It’s an Ashes year and I haven’t played much red-ball cricket. I need to suggest to people and remind people that I can play red-ball cricket and get through it – both from a fitness point of view, but also to show what I can do to try and have a go at being part of the Ashes”, he further added.
“The tournament is hard to turn down because the best players go there, it’s financially rewarding and it’s been brilliant for my career. But the trade-off is that opportunity to play for Warwickshire, which I’ve always loved doing. It’s tricky as an international player, particularly with the current schedule, and more so as a bowler: you don’t get the opportunity to come back and play much for your county”, he stated.