Chris Woakes will continue to call Edgbaston home next season as he leads Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundred – but the England all-rounder reveals his love for football in an exclusive Q&A ahead of the live draft.
Woakes will be present at the draft, which will be live on Sky Sports on Sunday, and he will be joined at the new Birmingham franchise by England team-mate Moeen Ali and exciting fast bowler Pat Brown.
We spoke exclusively to the World Cup winner to get his thoughts on the new-look format, going up against his England colleagues and his love of Aston Villa…
The Hundred Draft Live
October 20, 2019, 7:00pm
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Just how excited are you to be involved with The Hundred?
I’m really excited to be part of the competition, and feeling really fortunate to be part of it, too. I’m particularly looking forward to the draft. I’ve seen bits of the NFL Draft before, so I’m intrigued to see how this one pans out and how teams go about their business. Who gets picked up? Maybe a couple of big names will miss out, so I’m sure there will be a few nervous players come the day itself.
Who do you hope the Birmingham Phoenix draft to play with you?
That’s a tricky one. There are so many good players out there, not only in this country but overseas as well. But, being a bowler, I’m going to think selfishly here and go for who I don’t want to bowl at… One of the really big, destructive hitters, Andre Russell, springs to mind. David Warner at the top of the order, too – those are the kind of guys who can really hurt bowlers in this format.
Which of your England mates on other teams do you most want to get one over?
Any one of the England boys I’d be happy to get one over and ensure I’ve got those bragging rights in the dressing room. It will be really exciting actually, going up against those boys. I’ve done it a couple of times before, in the franchise T20 tournaments you might find your paths cross and it always adds that little extra spice to the game.
What kind of crowds are you expecting for The Hundred?
In my opinion, there is no better place to play cricket than Edgbaston when it is full and bouncing, the Hollies Stand in full voice. I’m really fortunate to have played a lot of cricket there. I’m sure we will get good crowds in there again, they’ll get behind the team and it will be a great place to play.
The Hundred team picks Team England red-ball player Local Icons Women’s Players Representing Birmingham Phoenix Chris Woakes Moeen Ali, Pat Brown Amy Jones, Kirstie Gordon Warks, Worcestershire London Spirit Rory Burns Eoin Morgan, Dan Lawrence Heather Knight, Freya Davies Middlesex, Essex, Northants Manchester Originals Jos Buttler Saqid Mahmood, Matt Parkinson Kate Cross, Sophie Ecclestone Lancashire Northern Superchargers Ben Stokes Adil Rashid, David Willey Lauren Winfield, Linsey Smith Yorkshire, Durham Oval Invincibles Sam Curran Tom Curran, Jason Roy Laura Marsh, Fran Wilson Surrey, Kent Southern Brave Jofra Archer Chris Jordan, James Vince Anya Shrubsole, Danni Wyatt Hampshire, Sussex Trent Rockets Joe Root Harry Gurney, Alex Hales Nat Sciver, Katherine Brunt Notts, Derbyshire, Leics Welsh Fire Jonny Bairstow Tom Banton, Colin Ingram Katie George, Bryony Smith Glamorgan, Gloucs, Somerset
Can it become a big global success like T20 in years to come?
Of course, there will always be the odd sceptic, which I suppose is understandable. At the same time, I’ve got no doubt that this tournament will thrive. Give it a chance. When you have the world’s best playing each other, in any format, it’s going to make for some amazing cricket. I just can’t wait for it to get started.
What aspect of The Hundred most excites you?
As a bowler, it’s going to be tough. I imagine the games are going to be quite high scoring – but that makes for exciting cricket. The thing I’m most looking forward to is the strategy and the tactical side of the game, how teams look to attack, how bowlers are used – do they bowl the longer spell of 10 balls or are they used more in short bursts? That might take teams a few games to work out their strengths and weaknesses.
To those new to the game and The Hundred, what will you bring to the Birmingham Phoenix?
I like to think that I can bring some skilful bowling. Hopefully I can bowl well with the new ball. Obviously this is a new format, but the basics will still be the same, in that you still need to take early wickets. Hopefully I can do that, as well as add a few valuable runs down the order.
And what’s a fun fact about you outside of the game of cricket?
I’m passionate about cricket and I love the game, but football was my true love. I used to be a half-decent footballer but not really any more. I’m a big Aston Villa fan; If I could have been a professional footballer and scored in front of the Holte End, that really would have been the dream!
100 bouncers from Jofra Archer or one over against him with no padding?
I’d have to try to face the 100 bouncers. If I had no gear on, I’d be genuinely concerned for my health!
100 hundreds in defeat or one match-winning ton?
Not many people score 100 hundreds – only the legends of the game – so I’m tempted, but I couldn’t do without tasting victory, so I’ll go for the one hundred and a win.
100 chillis or one ghost chilli?
One ghost chilli.
100 bungee jumps or one sky dive from space?
I’d probably go for 100 bungee jumps. I feel that once you’d done one, you’d know its okay and so you wouldn’t mind doing it again.
100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?