In hindsight, I probably didn’t need to pull out of IPL: Chris Woakes

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England all-rounder Chris Woakes has revealed that he pulled out of this year’s IPL primarily to be with his pregnant wife but need not have officially announced his withdrawal from the event, which was suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Woakes was bought for Rs 1.5 crore by Delhi Capitals at the IPL auction last year, but pulled out of the tournament saying that he wanted to stay fresh for England’s home Test summer, which is also currently on hold due to the pandemic.

“In hindsight I probably didn’t need to pull out. I didn’t say it at the time but we’re expecting another baby in September and that added to the decision,” Woakes was quoted as saying by ‘The Cricketer’.

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“My wife wasn’t well at home. The idea of being away from home for three months was going to be too much. Family had to come first,” he said.

Woakes, who has not played a T20 since August 2018, and featured in a T20I for England in November 2015, insisted he is not finished playing the shortest format of the game.

“By no means do I feel like I’m finished in T20. I’d still love to play in the IPL,” he said.

The 31-year-old, who has represented England in 33 Tests and 101 ODIs, insisted that national duty takes top priority but he is open to playing other tournaments.

“I want to play as much cricket as I can moving forward while looking after my body. My England career is No.1 but if opportunities come up, I’d still like to play in them.”

Talking about the T20 World Cup scheduled in October-November in Australia, Woakes said it was unlikely that he would make the squad.

“At the minute it doesn’t quite look like I’m going to get a go in T20 unless something drastic happens in terms of injuries. I’d probably have to have had an unbelievable summer.”

The right-arm pacer said he would be open to playing in an empty stadium without fans to get the international game back up and running.

“At least give the public something to watch and hopefully entertain some who are missing it a lot,” he said.

“We’d want a three-week block (of preparation) to get overs in your legs to be able to back up a 20-over day in a Test. But again that might not be possible either. So I think two weeks would probably be the minimum,” he added.

England’s Test tour of Sri Lanka was called off as the visiting team rushed back home due to the rapidly spreading pandemic.

“You saw during the early days of the Sri Lanka tour that we were trying our hardest not to make contact with each other and not shaking hands,” he recalled.

Asked about the issue of using saliva to shine the ball, the Englishman said he prefers to use sweat.

“I try and use as much sweat as possible rather than putting your hands in your mouth just from a normal hygiene point of view.

“But I think it could potentially change the way things work with the ball,” he explained.