Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Magical Stuff as England Wizard Hits the Bullseye

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Magical Stuff as England Wizard Hits the Bullseye

Article excerpt

CHRIS Woakes first gained his nickname 'Wizard' with the arrows on the oche - but has made sure it stuck by proving he knows what to do with bat and ball as well.

It was at the 2008 Under-19s' World Cup in Malaysia a squad containing two current England team-mates and another former international colleague James Taylor - an usher at Woakes' wedding last month - decided he could carry off the magical moniker.

As it turned out, in 85 caps so far across the formats over the past six years, they hit the bullseye.

Woakes was on target again as he and Joe Root bailed England out on Sunday with an unbroken century stand to complete a four-wicket victory and seal the one-day international series against West Indies with an unassailable 2-0 lead.

Eoin Morgan's team was in big trouble at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, losing four wickets for 16 runs to collapse to 124 for six in pursuit of 226 to win.

However, Root and Woakes' unbeaten half-centuries saw them home with 10 balls to spare, after which the Yorkshireman spoke of his admiration for England's number eight 'Wiz'.

In Root's words, Woakes is "magic" and "just does everything exceptionally well".

The Wizard himself said: "It came from an Under-19s' World Cup tour. We were playing darts and needed to give each other nicknames - and mine was wizard.

"A lot of the guys I played with have come through with me and it's stuck."

Woakes has had the stardust so far this year, on and off the pitch.

His match-winning exploits in Antigua followed his wedding and another contract also sealed last month - the small matter of a with a six from the last ball of the match.

He is delighted to have lent a hand again, of course, but would be just as happy to see the frontline batsmen getting the job done without him having to bother. …

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