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Woakes up for role at number six; Woakes ambition.

Byline: Brian Halford

CHRIS Woakes has outlined his long-term aim to hold down a place at number six in the batting order in first-class cricket for Warwickshire.

All-rounder Woakes has forced his way into the England set-up primarily with his bowling, not least last season when he was the Bears' leading wicket-taker in Championship cricket with 56 at 21.78 each - despite missing five games.

But the 23-year-old averages a healthy 33.26 with the bat in first-class cricket, with four centuries. Last season, onlookers from other counties often expressed surprise about his batting, observing that it is much more accomplished than the archetypal hitting of a bowler who enjoys having a bat.

Woakes's game has all the components of a genuine all-rounder. And while he knows he has so far not built enough big innings, he is determined to start doing that - and work his way up the Bears order.

"I would like to get as high as six eventually," Woakes said. "It is probably not realistic now with the order we have got and Rikki Clarke and Tim Ambrose above me but I want to get up to six and be that genuine all-rounder.

"I class myself as an all-rounder now but still find people probably see me more as a bowler who bats, even though last year I did back myself up by scoring a lot of runs like an all-rounder should.

"Seven or eight is probably where I'll be this year and down there you don't always get the chances that an all-rounder should. If you get going you tend to run out of partners. But if I can score the runs I did last year then I will push myself higher."

Woakes' explosive batting should be a big asset to Warwickshire in 40 and 20-over cricket in the years ahead, perhaps at or near the top of the order in the role which Neil Carter has filled with such success in recent years. "It has crossed my mind," Woakes said. "It hasn't been discussed yet but it's definitely something I would be open to."
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Mar 16, 2012
Words:349
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