Chris Woakes insists Ashes won’t distract England stars from T20 World Cup bid

Chris Woakes has told his multi-format team-mates they need to park the Ashes at the back of their minds in order to fully focus on their bid for World Cup glory.

The all-rounder will be a key part of Joe Root ’s team Down Under after signing up to the 17-strong squad that was named on Sunday, but he must first do Eoin Morgan ’s bidding in the UAE.

An integral part of the 50-over World Cup winning side in 2019, Woakes actually went nearly six years without playing in the T20 side until this summer.

But now that he is back in the fold, he is determined to make sure that he doesn’t waste the opportunity to make it a World Cup double, and that means the Ashes must wait.

“It's good news with regards to Australia and the Ashes tour,” said Woakes. “But there is a small matter of the T20 World Cup first.

“We have a big World Cup in front of us, and you don’t want to get to the end of the tournament and think ‘I wasn’t fully engaged’ – we have to give this our full attention.

“What is going on with the Ashes is on the back burner and there are still one or two things being resolved there on our and the ECB’s behalf.

“You can’t get too fixated on that – it is important we focus on the here and now and it is a great opportunity to lift some silverware for your country.

“There might be another World Cup next year but there are no guarantees that myself or anyone else will be selected for the next one so you have to make the most of it now. The Ashes stuff will have to be parked.”

Woakes will certainly be a handful with the new ball in the UAE as he tries to bring his 50-over wicket-taking skills to the shorter format during the tournament.

And when he does eventually make it Down Under, he is confident the Aussies will be met with a far more challenging prospect than the man who took just ten wickets at an average of 50 four years ago.

“I haven’t played a huge amount of overseas cricket since then but when I have I feel like I have improved,” said the 32-year-old.

“I feel like I am bowling a better length more consistently and have actually been able to get that kookaburra ball to move a bit when I haven’t previously.

“It is a tough place to go, but I am four years older, have played more cricket, got more experience under my belt and I believe I am a better bowler now than I was then.”

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