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England's Woakes Downplays Concerns Surrounding His Knee Injury

England's Woakes Downplays Concerns Surrounding His Knee Injury

Chris Woakes has emphasised that his knee problems are not an immediate threat to his international career, insisting that by no means does he feel like it's "coming to the end".

"It's not a concern," Woakes said in Grenada ahead of the third ODI against the Windies. "By no means do I feel I'm coming to the end or it's the end of my career.

"My knee is something I've had to manage for the past eight years. It's just a dodgy knee from too much bowling. There's other guys around who've probably got the same. It comes with the territory. It's not something I'm overly worried about. I feel fit now and I'm good to go."

Woakes has grappled with plenty of injury issues with his knee in the last one year. He missed the entire Test series against West Indies earlier this year and was left out of the second ODI in Barbados with England wary of playing him twice in three days.

However, the 29-year-old was confident that he will be able to go through the World Cup and the Ashes later this year without any concerns.

"We have looked at the World Cup schedule and it's not as tight as you might think," said Woakes. "That might work in my favour. I got through four Ashes Tests last winter, plus all the warm-up games, the five ODIs, plus four ODIs in New Zealand. I had this then. I know I can get through cricket."

England keeping Woakes cotton-wrapped is understandable. He has been one of the best new-ball bowlers in ODIs in the last one year and a lot of England's success in the format has been due to Waokes giving them the early strikes regularly.

Since the start of 2018, Woakes has picked up 21 wickets in 14 ODIs striking mostly in the Power Play overs. With the World Cup not far away, England will be hoping their premier pacer remains fit and firing for the all-important event.

"You have a job as a new ball bowler to try and take wickets," Woakes said. "It's the time when you're most likely to get a little bit of movement. It's tricky because most of the time the ball skids on and the batters are looking to score. But when batters are looking to score, that gives you opportunities to take wickets. Dot balls are great, but we want to be getting batsmen out.

"My mantra as such is to put the ball where they don't want. There's no real magic behind it."

Woakes also showered praise on fellow pacer Liam Plunkett who got a bit of a stick in the first ODI at the hands of Chris Gayle. There have been concerns surrounding Plunkett's loss of pace but Woakes remained adamant that the lanky pacer was at his best.

"Liam's been superb for us in the past few years," Woakes said. "You look at his strike rate: I think it's up there with the best of all time which, in the modern game and through the middle overs, is an extremely great effort. He is as good as ever."

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