Above: Chris Woakes taking a catch in his Wellington Firebirds debut Plunket Shield match last week against the Auckland Aces at Eden Park. Woakes plays his first of eight HRV Cup Twenty20 games, plus finals, for the Hell Wellington Firebirds this Friday night in Napier against the Central Stags.
From the Warwickshire Bears to the Wellington Firebirds, English all-rounder Chris Woakes is excited about the opportunity of making as big an impact this season as he did for his County side over the recent northern summer.
Playing alongside Jeetan Patel, Woakes helped the Bears to their seventh County Championship title, taking 27 wickets in eight matches at an average of 25.22 and hitting two centuries in his total of 431 runs at 71.83. Overall, he’s taken 250 first-class wickets for Warwickshire at 25.05 and has scored six centuries for them. He’s also played for England, having played six One-Day Internationals and three Twenty Internationals.
The 23-year old Woakes made his New Zealand domestic first-class debut last week in Auckland against the Aces, making a brisk 47 and returning 0-95 off 25 overs in Auckland’s only innings.
Starting this Friday night in Napier against the Central Stags, he will play the first of eight remaining round-robin HRV Cup Twenty20 matches for the Hell Firebirds, plus the finals should the Firebirds qualify. Wellington fans can watch him in action for the first time next week at Karori Park in the four-dayer against the Stags.
With England touring New Zealand later in the summer, it’s a great opportunity for Woakes to help guide the Hell Firebirds to their maiden HRV Cup title and at the same time press his claims for a place in England’s touring squad.
We recently caught up with Chris Woakes and asked him a few questions about his background, a few of his favourite things and about life as a top cricketer: You are an all-rounder - What discipline do you prefer? Batting or bowling?
Bowling has always been my main attribute so would have to say bowling, but I must admit it’s a lot harder work than batting. Batsmen won't enjoy me saying that!What is your favourite ground to play at and why?
Obviously Edgbaston, my home County ground in Birmingham, is close to my heart but Lord’s is very, very special with so many traditions and is the 'home of cricket'. I'm hoping the Hawkins Basin Reserve will be kind to me during my stay here - it’s a gorgeous cricket ground.Who is the toughest player you have bowled to?
[West Indian] Shiv ChanderpaulWho are your cricketing heroes?
It’s hard to go past [South African] Jacque KallisWhat item of food is your guilty pleasure?
Definitely Biscuits.......any biscuits!Who is your favourite superhero?
I think it has to be BatmanIf you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
New YorkWho is your non-cricketing person or team you most admire?
Aston Villa FCWhat has been your career highlight so far?
Winning the county championship with Warwickshire rates very high but making my England debut is going to be hard to beat.Do you have a nickname and what is the story behind it?
GB (golden balls) just because I 'apparently' never put a foot wrong - but I can assure you I do.What is your signature dish to cook?
A stir fry!Who has been the biggest influence on your cricketing career?
So many to name and hard to single people out. My parents supported me ever since I was a young lad with a hobbie, so I'd have to say them.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to enjoy my downtime by seeing family, my girlfriend, playing golf, watching my beloved Aston Villa FC, listening to music and general socialising. Getting away from the game is very important.What is on your ipod at the moment?
Swedish house mafia - don't you worry child. We won't mention The Justin Beiber track! Follow Chris Woakes on Twitter: @crwoakes19