Woakes would welcome ditched Alex Hales back into England dressing room

By Sports Desk May 22, 2020

Chris Woakes would welcome Alex Hales back into the England team if the explosive batsman is handed the chance to atone for his off-field mistakes.

The Nottinghamshire opener could be handed another opportunity in international cricket next week when England's selectors are expected to choose Test and limited-overs training groups.

Hales recently told the Daily Mail he hoped "people can forgive and forget" his previous errors, notably the incident before last year's World Cup when he was dumped from England's plans ahead of a tournament they famously won.

According to widespread reports, that Hales has not denied, he tested positive for a recreational drug and received a 21-day ban.

His management company said at the time that Hales had completed "certain rehabilitation measures" and was "devastated" to then lose his World Cup place.

England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan spoke of a "complete breakdown of trust" as Hales, who has played 141 matches for his country, was dropped.

Yet Hales may not be finished as an England cricketer, with reports he and officials from the England and Wales Cricket Board have spoken recently about his future.

England all-rounder Woakes said of the prospect of a recall: "I don't know if it's 100 per cent the right decision. It's not for me to make that call. I'm a believer that people serve their time, so to speak.

"He's gone through a tough time with what he had to go through with being left out of the World Cup and then seeing that team go on to lift the trophy. That must have been difficult for him.

"It's not my call but I think Alex is a world-class player. I've played a lot of cricket with him over the years, from a very young age.

"In a way I felt sorry for him, but I understood the decision from the management, the captain and the rest of the team.

"I don't know 100 per cent what will happen but I'd be happy to see Alex back in England colours. I imagine the majority would have the view that I've just given, in terms of people do deserve a second chance. If they've gone away and worked on what they need to work on, I don't see why anyone would see it any differently."

Woakes is 31, like Hales, and he underlined how standards in the dressing room demand responsibility and accountability throughout the team.

"We've got a culture and an environment in the England squad that we all try to pull in the right direction and all try to do the best for the team," Woakes said.

"If Alex is willing to do that, I would imagine everyone would be happy to see him back playing for England again."

Related items

  • Shane Warne: How 'The Ball of the Century' sparked his Ashes dominance Shane Warne: How 'The Ball of the Century' sparked his Ashes dominance

    As first impressions go, Shane Warne's in Ashes cricket was about as eye-catching as you could possibly get.  

    It was June 4, 1993 and the second day of the series opener between England and Australia at Old Trafford. Having taken five wickets for 45 runs in the morning session to dismiss their rivals for 289, the home side's reply was progressing steadily enough at 80-1. 

    However, Warne's introduction into the attack produced one of cricket's most memorable moments and changed the dynamic of the rivalry for over the next decade.

    Mike Gatting will certainly never forget it, as the leg-spinner unfurled a delivery that flummoxed the England batsman.

    'The Ball of the Century', as it became known, was poetry in slow (bowling) motion. The initial drift appeared to make it look innocuous enough as it veered to pitch outside the line of the right-handed Gatting's leg stump, only to dip, rip and zip beyond his defensive prod, beating the outside edge of the bat before going on to hit off stump. 

    It was a stunning opening statement. As if he had cast a spell that day, Warne would go on to dominate against England for the rest of his career. 

    Gatting will famously be remembered as the first but plenty more would be mesmerised by Warne, who ended his international career with 708 Test wickets at 25.41. Only Muttiah Muralitharan (800), Sri Lanka's own spin king, has ever managed more. 

    The variations - the wrong'uns, flippers, sliders and shooters, or whatever other name Warne came up with for the latest addition to his bowling repertoire - all helped add to his aura. So many batsmen were often done in the mind before he had even released the ball from his right hand.

    England suffered more than any other nation. Warne claimed 195 wickets against Australia's greatest rivals – the most by any opposing bowler - at an average of 23.3. 

    More than half of that tally came on English soil too (129 at 21.9 in 22 matches), with his numbers against them in Australia impacted by missing the majority of the 1998-99 series due to a right shoulder injury, as well as a further two Tests in 2002-03. In terms of wickets abroad, South Africa sit second on his hit list, Warne picking up 61 there in 12 Tests. 

    The young, bright-blond bowler in 1993 went on to finish with 34 scalps during the six-match Ashes, though a strike-rate of a wicket every 77.6 balls was comfortably the highest for any of his four series on English soil.

    He picked up four in each innings in Manchester – albeit none with such dramatic effect as the delivery that did for Gatting – then repeated the trick at Lord's in the next Test. While the returns dipped for the remainder of the trip, including just one wicket at Headingley, Australia eased to a 4-1 triumph to retain the urn. 

    From that away success towards the end of Allan Border's reign through the captaincy eras of Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting, the Australians would maintain their grip on the most famous prize in cricket until 2005, when Michael Vaughan's side worked out that attack was the best form of defence. 

    The competitive nature of that series – after a lop-sided opener at Lord’s that the tourists won, every other fixture provided sporting drama of the highest quality – seemingly inspired Warne to reach a personal Ashes peak.  

    No cause was lost when he had the ball that summer, as demonstrated when so nearly rescuing situations in eventual defeats at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge, when his side's batting failures left them playing catch-up. In the end, though, his 40 wickets at 19.9 were not enough to spare Australia from slipping to a 2-1 defeat.  

    Still, he became just the eighth bowler to take 40 wickets in a series – and the first since 1989 – while striking on average every 37.9 balls. England had managed to win the war despite coming out second best in their battles with Warne. 

    His hugely successful English summer helped towards an overall haul of 96 wickets in 2005, comfortably the best return during a Test career that saw him take 70 or more in a calendar year on four occasions.

    The last act was to help regain the urn at home in 2006-07, Andrew Flintoff becoming Warne's 195th Ashes scalp when stumped by Adam Gilchrist in Sydney.  The bowler who made the fading art of leg spin fashionable once again had bamboozled England for the final time.

  • On this day in sport: Warne's 'ball of the century', All Blacks run in record score On this day in sport: Warne's 'ball of the century', All Blacks run in record score

    Shane Warne made an indelible mark on the Ashes on this day in 1993.

    The future Australia great was introduced to cricket's greatest series in stunning fashion as England were set on their way to a painful defeat.

    Two years later, it was New Zealand's go to turn on the style on the same day in the calendar at the Rugby World Cup.

    There has also been June 4 delight for a British boxing favourite and despair for one of the greatest names in tennis.

    We take a look at the major sporting events to have happened on this day through the years.


    1993 - Warne delivers 'ball of the century'

    Warne is now renowned as a cricketing great, but he was making his Ashes debut on this day 27 years ago.

    While the series had started a day earlier with England taking the ball, the most memorable moment of the opening match at Old Trafford came when the hosts sought to build a reply to Australia's first-innings 289.

    The tourists could hardly have enjoyed a better start as Warne's first ever ball in an Ashes series deceived Mike Gatting and went down in folklore.

    The delivery pitched outside leg stump but turned sharply and clipped the top of off stump, setting Australia on their way to first a 179-run victory and then a 4-1 series win.

    Warne collected 34 Test wickets in all during the tour, the most of any player as he launched an outstanding Ashes career.


    1995 - Ellis scores six as All Blacks run riot

    Japan have impressed at recent Rugby World Cups, but their experience of the 1995 tournament on this day is one they would surely rather forget.

    Eventual finalists New Zealand romped to a 145-17 win in Bloemfontein, which was then a record margin of victory and is the most points scored by a team in a World Cup match

    Eric Rush opened the scoring in just the second minute and the 21-try All Blacks scarcely stopped.

    Rush ended with three tries, as did Jeff Wilson, but Marc Ellis stole the show with six - including a hat-trick in the opening 30 minutes.

    Simon Culhane, who also crossed, successfully dispatched 20 of his conversion attempts on a humbling day for Japan.
     

    2005 - Hatton stuns Tszyu to take title

    If everything went to script 10 years earlier in South Africa, the same was not true when Ricky Hatton took on Kostya Tszyu in Manchester.

    Hatton boasted a 38-0 record but was fighting for a major title - the IBF light-welterweight belt - for the first time against one of boxing's leading pound-for-pound fighters.

    The local lad held his own against the defending champion, however, even as each man landed illegal low blows.

    And with Hatton just ahead on the scorecards, Tszyu failed to return for the 12th round as his corner threw the towel in, securing a stunning upset.


    2016 - Muguruza off the mark as Serena stalls

    Garbine Muguruza reached her second major final at Roland Garros in 2016 and, as the previous year at Wimbledon, she was faced with the daunting task of taking down Serena Williams.

    However, Muguruza - beaten at the All England Club - claimed her first grand slam triumph in a display she would describe as "the perfect final".

    The Spaniard became French Open champion with a 7-5 6-4 success, showing character late in the first set and dictating the second to see off Serena.

    Williams had been bidding to tie Steffi Graf's Open-era record of 22 major titles and would only have to wait until a month later at Wimbledon to do so as she maintained a stunning run of form up until the birth of her daughter in 2017.

  • Root could miss first Test of behind-closed-doors Windies series Root could miss first Test of behind-closed-doors Windies series

    Joe Root could miss the first Test of the scheduled behind-closed-doors series between England and West Indies with his second child due to arrive next month.

    The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Tuesday, that subject to government approval, England will contest three matches with the Windies at the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford.

    Root's men were set to face the Windies in a three-Test series beginning on Thursday with matches at The Oval, Edgbaston and Lord's but that was not possible due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The England captain may be absent for the first Test of the re-arranged series at the Ageas Bowl, starting on July 8, with the ECB exploring ways for him to leave the bio-secure bubble that will see players isolated from the general public.

    Root said: "The start of July is the due date, so that complicates things slightly. 

    "In terms of the bubble, and the pregnancy, it's being discussed with the medical team. At the minute, it's still open for discussion, how that will finally look, I'm not exactly sure. It will have to come down to government advice."

    Root confirmed he would be at the birth even if it required him missing the first Test and said of prospective deputy Ben Stokes: "I think if Ben was captain he would be fantastic.

    "One of his great qualities as a leader is he sets the example. He drags people with him and gets the best out of the players around him.

    "He'll have people wanting to play for him and short-term he'd be a huge success."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.