Knee surgery leaves England fast bowler Chris Woakes in race to be fit for T20 World Cup

Chris Woakes is due to undergo knee surgery on Thursday and faces a race to be fit for the T20 World Cup in Australia.
Woakes has not played a full game in any format since England’s tour of the Caribbean in March, reporting a sore knee when he returned to the UK. He said that the injury had “teased” him throughout the summer, and he has been restricted to a single second-team appearance this season.

“It’s been a really frustrating summer,” Woakes told the BBC’s Test Match Special. “I came back from the Caribbean at the end of March and had a sore knee. I thought I’d just have a few weeks off and then get back up and running, and it hasn’t quite gone that way.

“I’ve really struggled with my knee without really knowing exactly what’s wrong. I’ve finally got to the situation now where really the only chance I’ve got of getting back to full fitness is by going for some surgery.”

Woakes did not play a T20 international between 2015 and 2021 but became a key part of England’s plans ahead of last year’s World Cup, taking seven wickets in six matches at the tournament with an economy rate of 7.36.

With Jofra Archer, Saqib Mahmood and Mark Wood all expected to miss this year’s tournament in Australia with their respective injuries, England’s seam stocks are depleted, and Woakes said his aim was to be available for selection. However, England will be required to select their provisional squad in mid-September under ICC regulations, and Woakes will have limited opportunities to prove his fitness before then.

“Everything that I’m getting from the surgeon who seems to be quite optimistic about it all. He’s saying four to six weeks – more likely to be six than four,” Woakes added. “It all depends really on what they find on the inside but they’re hoping that it’s not going to be anything too drastic. It should be a fairly routine keyhole surgery.

“Touch wood, they don’t find anything in there that we’re not [expecting]. I’m pretty excited at the fact that I’m hopefully getting the problem sorted rather than letting this linger on like I have done over the last couple of months which have been really frustrating, to be honest, to miss so much cricket.

“It should hopefully be really straightforward rehab and hopefully back – obviously the aim for myself is to be available for selection for that T20 World Cup. Fingers crossed I can be a part of that.

“This particular injury has been really frustrating. It’s teased me a little bit. I can do almost everything absolutely fine until a certain level. I get to a stage where I need to bowl at batsmen at full tilt and then it flares up. That’s the annoying thing about this one. It’s not like I can’t do anything, it’s just when I get to that full capacity.”

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