Brian Halford
1st October 2018

Woakes: “Great to have another Bear onboard”

Chris Woakes is confident that Olly Stone will "take really well to international cricket" as the all-rounder welcomes his Warwickshire team-mate into the England fold in Sri Lanka.

The two Bears are in the England squad which landed in Sri Lanka yesterday for a tour which begins with two 50-over friendlies against Colombo on Friday and Saturday, ahead of five ODIs and three Tests.

"Olly has bowled brilliantly this year and fully deserves his call-up. England have been looking for a bowler with that little bit of extra pace and Olly has that."

Chris Woakes

Woakes has been at the heart of the England set-up for some time so his experience and counsel is sure to benefit 24-year-old Stone as he prepares to challenge for his ODI and Test debuts.

Stone has travelled with confidence high after a superb season for Warwickshire which brought him 43 championship wickets in seven games at a remarkable 12.21 runs apiece.

Stone has serious pace and will be a potent force at the top level, reckons Woakes, even potentially in Sri Lanka where the pitches do the pacemen few favours.

"It's great to have to another Bear on board out here," Woakes said. "Olly has bowled brilliantly this year and fully deserves his call-up. England have been looking for a bowler with that little bit of extra pace and Olly has that.

"He is also a top lad with a good head on his shoulders so I'm sure he will take really well to international cricket and all it entails.

"It can be hard going for the quicker bowlers in Sri Lanka, though the pitches for the ODIs last time out here were not too bad for seamers. There wasn't much sideways movement but they had good carry so were decent to bowl on.

"Hopefully that will be the same again though I'm guessing the Test pitches will be hard work!"

While Stone aspires to make his England debuts, Woakes is hoping to add to his tally of 26 Tests and 76 ODIs. Like everyone in the squad he is aiming for an impressive winter, in Sri Lanka and then the West Indies in the New Year, ahead of a huge 2019 summer in England which will bring the ICC World Cup and the Ashes.

"I've been really looking forward to Sri Lanka," he said. "I've been here with England Under 19s and the Lions and for an ODI tour and it's a really enjoyable place to visit. It's a testing tour in the conditions and will be hot and humid and sweaty but that's the sort of challenge you want as a cricketer.

"We have a huge summer in the pipeline next year and everyone will want to be involved then but right now all we are thinking about is Sri Lanka. Then it will be West Indies, so it's a busy winter with a lot of important cricket so we'll focus on that and next summer will just creep up on us."