England all-rounder Chris Woakes feels that home advantage definitely makes things easier and favourable for India in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup but his side is motivated to “knock them off their perch”. Defending champions England will be playing their third WC match against Afghanistan in Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium on Sunday. After a nine-wicket defeat to 2019 finalists New Zealand in the tournament opener, England got back on track with a 137-run win over Bangladesh.
India and England will square off on October 29 at Lucknow.
The last three editions of the World Cup have been won by hosts, starting with India lifting the WC in 2011 at Mumbai, followed by Australia’s triumph at Melbourne in 2015 and then England’s win at Lord’s in 2019.
“It is an incredibly tough challenge to win in India. Naturally, I think the sub-continental teams will feel more at home with the conditions,” he said as quoted by Sky Sports.
“That makes it extremely hard for us to knock them off their perch, so to speak. But we have got the squad and the players to be able to compete. People have looked at us for a while and we have had a little bit of a target on our back as a white-ball team, around the world.”
“It is a tough competition to win is not it? Especially here. But we will give it a good crack. We are taking it each game as it comes. Naturally, people have got expectations of us and we have certainly got our own expectations of ourselves,” concluded Woakes.
India have started as favourites, with two thumping wins over Australia and Afghanistan. Be it top order, middle order, fine pace or spin attack, Men In Blue has ticked off every box since their Asia Cup win recently for the eighth time.
In the match against NZ, Woakes went wicketless in his six overs, leaking 45 runs, but took two wickets against Bangladesh, of Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Litton Das.
Woakes is eager to continue his upward trajectory.
“It is the start of a long tournament,” he said.
“I certainly feel that I would have liked to have bowled a little bit better but they are long competitions and you do not want to peak too soon, I suppose.”
“I have built into tournaments in the past and into series, which I suppose holds me in good stead moving forward. But you contribute every time you go out in the field so I will be working hard in practice to try and make sure that I’m on the money when I get the opportunity,” he concluded.
England squad: Jos Buttler (c), Moeen Ali, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes.
Afghanistan squad: Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Abdul Rahman, Naveen ul Haq.
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