Nasser Hussain, the former England captain-turned commentator, has heaped high praise on Chris Woakes, adding that the right-handed seam-bowling all-rounder should play over James Anderson in the second Test against Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
Besides claiming four wickets in the two innings [2-43 and 2-11], Chris Woakes probably played the innings of his life, stroking an unbeaten 84 to help England chase down 277 against Pakistan. Woakes stiched 139 runs for the sixth wicket with Jos Buttler, who played an equally brilliant knock of 75 to wrestle the initiative back from Pakistan.
James Anderson, on the other hand, has been unlucky this summer. He has beaten the bat on multiple occasions but the wickets haven’t come his way. The legendary fast bowler has managed just six wickets in three Tests this summer.
“If Ben Stokes is fit to bowl then England have got some tough selections decisions to make ahead of the second Test and, I think this is the first time I have said this in my career as a broadcaster, I would have Woakes in the side ahead of James Anderson,” Nasser Hussain told Sky Sports.
“Before this game I had Anderson ahead of Woakes but I think the way Woakes has played in this game, he has out-bowled Anderson and he’s obviously out-batted Anderson so he has the edge. If Woakes is fit, he plays. Stuart Broad plays and Dom Bess plays. I’ve always said, have two English type seamers – so I’d probably go Broad and Woakes – and then one tearaway. So that is between Jofra Archer and Mark Wood.” Nasser Hussain added.
‘Chris Woakes is the most under-valued England cricketer’- Nasser Hussain
Chris Woakes, just like Stuart Broad, has made a brilliant comeback to the side after he was left out of the playing XI in the opening Test of the summer against the West Indies. Since then, the all-rounder has claimed 16 wickets at an average of 15.8. His batting form was abysmal coming into this Test. He was averaging a mere 8.25 with the bat this year before he went on to play probably the best innings of his life. Hailing Woakes for the manner in which he turned around his form and the way he batted on an uneven bounce pitch, Hussain termed Woakes as the most under-valued England cricketer of the current era.
“Chris Woakes is probably the most popular man in that dressing room, probably the most under-valued cricketer by England really. He always does it, he always goes under the radar and he is always the one who is left out because the superstars in that side – the 500-wicket boys, the nearly 600-wicket boy – but he is always there for England. He said on an interview last night that he could do with a few more runs and he certainly delivered today!” Nasser Hussain added.
”But on a fourth day pitch, a little bit uneven, a little bit of spin, two wrist-spinners, a bloke who is struggling for runs – can’t buy a run – dealing in binary digits, to go out and be 80-odd not out and win the game with his batting, that is the bit that surprised everyone,” Nasser Hussain said.