Eoin Morgan rules out quick England return for Alex Hales

‘He needs to build trust up now for as long as he can’: Eoin Morgan dashes Alex Hales’ hopes of an imminent England return after batsman showed ‘complete disregard’ for team’s values with recreational drugs ban

  • Eoin Morgan has urged caution in bringing Alex Hales back into the fold
  • Batsman Hales served a suspension last year for recreational drug use
  • He was removed from the World Cup squad shortly before the tournament 

Eoin Morgan has ruled out a rapid return to England’s white-ball squad for the exiled Alex Hales, saying he ‘completely disregarded’ the team’s values.

Hales had his hopes raised of being named on Friday in an enlarged group of white-ball specialists who will resume training under England’s guidance when Chris Woakes last week backed his case for a recall.

And earlier this month Hales was believed to have impressed the England hierarchy with his contrition in a Sportsmail interview where he said he had matured and ‘learned my lesson’ from serving a suspension last year for recreational drug use.

 Eoin Morgan (L) says Alex Hales (R) could still be some way away from an England comeback

But World Cup winning captain Morgan, all powerful in the white-ball set-up, dashed his optimism on Wednesday when he said Hales could have cost England ‘four years hard work’ with the damage caused by the emergence of a ban he had kept from the team.

‘I’ve spoken to Alex and see an avenue for him to come back but when there’s a breakdown of trust the only healer is time,’ said Morgan, speaking to promote the 15th anniversary of Chance to Shine.

‘It’s only been 12 or 13 months since the incident which could have cost us four years hard work so I think we will continue to assess things moving forward.

‘He needs to build trust up now for as long as he can,’ Morgan said on batsman Hales

‘It’s not about performance with Alex, he’s a fantastic player and it’s never been an issue as to whether he’s good enough to be in the squad. But it’s about on and off the field and the values we do our best to adhere to.   

‘Alex showed a complete disregard for those values and he needs to build trust up now for as long as he can. Then hopefully an opportunity will present itself along the line.’

When pressed on whether Morgan needed more time to welcome back a player Woakes insisted had the support of the bulk of the England team, the captain said: ‘I think given that it could have derailed a World Cup campaign it will take more time, yes.’

The naming of up to 15 white-ball players in addition to a Test ‘squad’ of around 30 on Friday appeared the ideal opportunity to re-integrate Hales but, at 31, time might now be running out for him even though Morgan insisted the door had not yet closed.

 He was removed from the World Cup squad shortly before England won the tournament

‘Alex is in a unique situation,’ added Morgan. ‘The huge breakdown in trust between him and the players on the cusp of a World Cup was extremely dramatic.

‘I think teams in the past wouldn’t have been strong enough to make the decision we did before the World Cup and that we continued to stand by after it. That says a lot about our group. They’ve built something they can take ownership of because they’ve seen the work they put it and the results they gained from it.

‘And the group have also seen instances where players coming back into the group have the ability to take a lot of energy away and have an impact on others. We will continue to ask every player about the situation and whether it will be detrimental for Alex to come back. We will continue to ask good honest questions.’


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Former England batsman Butcher has gone from boundaries to hit singles

From hitting boundaries to recording singles! Former England batting star Mark Butcher has regrets over his Test career… but is now thriving as a superb singer-songwriter

  • Mark Butcher was meant to be promoting his second solo album, Now Playing 
  • The result for now is a double A-side digital single he plans to release in June
  • It includes vocals from eldest daughter Alita on a song called ‘Start Again’
  • Butcher played one of the great Ashes innings during a career with England
  • But he insists his career could have been much better, especially in Test cricket

Mark Butcher should have been touring now but it had nothing to do with his life as one of cricket’s most versatile all-round broadcasters.

The man who played one of the great Ashes innings during a career with England he insists ‘could have been much better’ was meant to be pursuing his other life as a singer-songwriter promoting his second solo album, Now Playing.

‘I’ve got a lot of new stuff in the bank to potentially make another album as a follow-up to Now Playing and I was supposed to be out touring,’ says Butcher.

Mark Butcher was meant to be promoting his second solo album, Now Playing, right now

The former England batsman, seen at Trent Bridge in 2002, swapped the bat for a microphone

‘That obviously got cancelled but we had a few tracks laid down anyway so I’ve been remote recording and putting live drums, guitars and vocals on them. I’ve got a home studio and I’ve been building songs that way.’

The result for now is a double A-side digital single Butcher plans to release early next month that not only showcases his considerable musical talent but also the vocals of his eldest daughter Alita on a song called, appropriately in lockdown world, Start Again.

It is music that helps make Butcher, at 47, one of cricket’s more multi-layered characters on top of his prowess behind the microphone both on television and, most recently, as the anchor of talkSPORT’s radio coverage in South Africa.

‘It’s just something I’ve loved since I was a kid,’ says Butcher. ‘I’ve always been interested in singing and got my first guitar in my early teens and taught myself how to play. It’s separate from my life in cricket. I’ve always kept it that way. There’s no correlation between one and the other. Hopefully I can play guitar until the day I die which is not something I could do as a cricketer.’

Clearly music is much more than a hobby for the Surrey stalwart who played 71 Tests and captained England against New Zealand at Old Trafford in 1999 when Nasser Hussain was injured.

‘If I was not able to continue doing what I do for a living, which is very much centred on the world of cricket and broadcasting, music would be the next thing for me,’ he adds. ‘Unfortunately, perhaps stupidly, I don’t have too many other things I could turn my hand to and make a decent living from. It’s what I know.’

There is not really a specific ‘Butcher sound’. ‘It’s difficult to describe your own music because different people will listen and have their own ideas,’ he says.

The result for now is a double A-side digital single Butcher plans to release early next month

‘But the first album was very much soul, R&B and blues-based and was sort of inspired by people like Al Green and Robert Cray, and Eric Clapton has been a hero of mine since I was very young.

‘The second has more of a British sound. It has an element of soul but it’s guitar-based — Small Faces, Paul Weller…’

Perhaps there was something of the musical free spirit in Butcher the cricketer. There was no questioning his talent as a top-order left-handed batsman, but he was also a non-conformist whose penchant for the odd night out did not always sit well with authority.

‘It could have been better, there’s no doubt about that,’ he says of his Test career. 

‘Knowing what I knew from the age of about 32 onwards would have made me more productive in the Test arena. That’s why playing international sport is so tough. It’s not just the talent you have but it’s applying it on a regular basis and I wasn’t able to do that. That’s why I had my moments and at other times it was a struggle.

‘I loved every second of it but that’s not to say I wouldn’t want to do it all again and see what could be done. There are no second chances. For sure I’d do it differently. If I did have the chance to do it all again I’d have taken better care of myself and been as professional as I see these boys being now.

‘One thing was true, though — and Nasser knew this about me more than anybody — I couldn’t sleep at all during Tests, which was why quite often I was up late because otherwise I would have just been lying there looking up at the ceiling. So there was a bit of dispensation given for that.’

Whatever regrets Butcher has, he will always have the memory of the day he smashed the great Australian side of 2001 all over Headingley to make 173 not out and win an Ashes Test for England.

‘It was an incredible day but there’s where some of the regret comes from because I was capable of playing like that,’ he says. ‘I did it a lot for Surrey but those days were few as a Test player.

‘I hit thousands of balls in preparation for that summer, not thinking I was going to end up playing Test cricket but just wanting to get myself back to where I was in love with the game again. That led to me being in that kind of form.

‘It came and went during the 45 or so Tests I played from that Ashes onwards. But I averaged 39 I think (after Headingley), having averaged 24 for the first 20-odd Tests I played, so there was a huge improvement after Headingley.’

The innings of Butcher’s life, though, could easily not have happened. He was dropped for that Headingley Test by coach Duncan Fletcher after one night out too many but was handed a reprieve before he even knew about it by captain Hussain.

‘It was the previous Test at Trent Bridge,’ says Butcher. ‘The Friday night I’d already been dismissed twice in the game so I went out and had a few drinks. I had no idea until after the end of the series that Dave Fulton was supposed to be batting at three in that Test if Duncan had had his way.’

Butcher insisted his cricket career could have been much better, especially in the Test arena

That Sliding Doors moment set up the second half of Butcher’s Test career and perhaps his current one as an articulate pundit.

‘Circumstances have dictated I’ve been freelance ever since my retirement in 2009 which has been great because it’s allowed me to do a lot of different things,’ says Butcher. ‘I absolute love doing TV commentary and working with Sky.

‘But because I’m freelance and can do whatever I want, I’ve also hosted studio shows for millions of people in India working for Sony and I’ve been the lead ball-by-ball man for talkSPORT. I’ve been able to add a lot of wonderful experiences to my c.v..

‘I try to be as honest as possible but I don’t take myself or the game too seriously. There’s always a light side to these things. It’s not life or death. Cricket can be great entertainment and I absolutely love watching it. Of course there are times when it doesn’t go well for the players and you tell it like it is. But it’s never a case of it being the end of the world.

‘My aim has always been to be as good as I could be, regardless of the fact I played for England, and I think I’m getting better and better at it.’




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Balding backs Kameko to take on unbeaten Pinatubo in 2,000 Guineas

‘Kameko is the best we’ve had here for a long while’: Trainer Andrew Balding backs colt to take on unbeaten favourite Pinatubo in 2,000 Guineas

  • Kameko finished his two-year-old season with an impressive win at Newcastle 
  • Balding won the same race in 2014 with Elm Park, also owned by Sheik Fahad
  • The colt is prepared to face Pinatubo in 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on June 6

Trainer Andrew Balding has described Kameko as ‘the best we’ve had for a long while’ in his Kingsclere stable as the colt is prepared to face unbeaten favourite Pinatubo in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on June 6.

Kameko finished his two-year-old season with an impressive three-and-a-quarter-length win in the Group One Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes at Newcastle in November.

Balding won the same race in 2014 with Elm Park, like Kameko owned by Sheik Fahad Al Thani’s Qatar Racing.

 Kameko (left) finished his two-year-old season with an impressive win at Newcastle

Elm Park was a little disappointing as a three-year-old, finishing 11th of 12 to Golden Horn in the 2015 Derby but the trainer believes he has grounds for higher hopes with Kameko.

But Balding said: ‘Elm Park and Kameko are very different horses. Elm Park was a tall gangly horse. He had a big engine but used to lose his co-ordination.

‘Kameko is a much stronger individual, much more the textbook physique you would like from a three-year-old. Both were talented but I hope and think Kameko is the best we’ve had here for a long while.’

Kameko is 14-1 joint third favourite for the delayed first Classic of the season after wrapping up his two-year-old season in style.

His one run on the Rowley Mile under jockey Oisin Murphy saw him headed in the final strides when beaten a neck by Aidan O’Brien’s Royal Dornoch in the Royal Lodge Stakes after looking the likely winner.

Balding believes the defeat was not down to an aversion to the track but a set of circumstances.

After that race, Balding switched the equipment on Kameko’s bridle, something he thinks made a difference in the colt’s smooth Newcastle victory.

Balding said: ‘When Kameko got beaten in the Royal Lodge Stakes, I blamed the jockey but he was blaming me because he thought the horse was too fresh and free. We put the cross noseband on him and that helped him switch off a little bit.

‘If we had our time again I would have been a little bit tougher on him leading into that race and Oisin would have sat on him a little bit longer.

‘It was a combination of circumstances which didn’t suit the horse. Personally I do not think it was the track and it does not worry me.’

With four races under his belt Kameko goes into the 2,000 Guineas with experience and tuned up with a racecourse gallop at Kempton last week.

Balding added: ‘If you were the only one who couldn’t race (before the Guineas), you would have been at a disadvantage but everybody is in the same boat.

‘In the circumstances, the fact we are going there first time up is to our advantage. He is a horse who will continue to improve as he gets more racing but the racecourse gallop has helped and he has done three or four pieces of work.

‘He had a quiet meeting during the Winter months and we had just got him back in to faster work around Cheltenham time when lockdown happened.

‘At the time we were still hoping that lockdown may be on the original date at the beginning of May so we had a period where we cranked up the intensity of the work and them when we realised that wasn’t going to be the case we let him down a little bit and I couldn’t be happier with him.

‘He is not flashy in his routine exercise but he has always been the type that every time you ask him little bit more he has given and improved for it.

‘We weigh the horses regularly and have aids like heart monitors that we didn’t have 10 years ago to help us gauge fitness.

‘With all that equipment, I think he is as ready as we could have him for a first run of the year but only time will tell. When the adrenalin is pumping on race day, horses behave differently.

‘Pinatubo is obviously an outstanding horse and I have huge respect for him.. He will be tough to beat but we will give it our best shot.’

Kameko is also entered in the Derby but Balding wait for Newmarket until making a call.

The trainer added: ‘Newmarket will tell us plenty. I have no doubt will stay a mile and a quarter. Whether he stays further than that we will probably only learn through the evidence of a run at Newmarket. His targets will be debated after the Guineas.




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Racing Post set to re-start print edition once again on Monday

Racing Post set to re-start print edition once again on Monday after ceasing publication for first time in its history in March after sporting calendar halt

  • The Racing Post will resume its publication on Monday for first time since March
  • The publication seized its print edition in March after sporting calendar stopped
  • The news will come as a relief after many feared it would struggle to return 

The Racing Post newspaper is poised to re-start its print edition on Monday to coincide with the anticipated resumption of racing at Newcastle racecourse.

It is understood an announcement may be made as early as today.

Racing’s dedicated publication ceased its print edition on March 25. It was the first time the Racing Post has not been printed since its launch in 1986.

The Racing Post will resume its publication on Monday after COVID-19 disruption in March

All racing events across Britain and Ireland have been suspended amid coronavirus pandemic

In a letter to readers, Editor Tom Kerr said that the paper had been left with no alternative with the sport shut down in Britain and Ireland and betting shops also closed.

Since then the Racing Post digital operation has operated with a skeleton staff on 50 per cent of salary with the rest of the staff furloughed.

There had been concern whether the print edition of the Racing Post would return while betting shops remain closed and crowds are barred from returning to the racecourse.

Meanwhile, the BHA have released the re-arranged schedule of big races that it plans to stage during June. These include a number of contests that will not be run at their usual venues.

With a lack of action to cover, the daily newspaper felt they had ‘no other choice’ but to stop

These includes Ascot’s Sagaro Stakes, which goes to Newcastle on June 6, the Brigadier Gerard Stakes which moves from its normal stage of Sandown to Haydock on June 7 and the Diomed Stakes, which is usually run at Epsom but now will be contested at Newbury on June 13.

Former champion jockey Colin Keane is odds-on favourite to regain his crown in Ireland this Summer but bookmakers Paddy Power have halved the odds of Seamie Heffernan to 5-1 to be champion jockey.

The daily newspaper will return once again despite fears the break would spell the end

The 14-day quarantine periods that will exist for the initial return of the sport look like meaning Heffernan will get the choice of the plum rides for champion trainer Aidan O’Brien with uncertainty over when the stable’s British-based No 1 rider Ryan Moore can travel to Ireland.

A spokesman for the bookmaker said: ‘If Seamie were to get the full stable support for the Irish runners at Ballydoyle then he would be a massive threat to Colin Keane.’ 




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FRENCH RACING TIPS: Best bets for Monday's meeting at Chateaubriant

FRENCH RACING TIPS: All the best bets for Monday’s meeting at Chateaubriant where Vigo has a decent opening in the Prix de Chantilly

  • The Fabrice Veron-ridden Vigo has a decent opening in the Prix de Chantilly
  • The three-year-old has shown ability and looks interesting on handicap debut
  • Irish Storm can shine in Prix De la Societe Des Courses Des Chateaubriant
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

You have to be out of bed early in the morning on Monday if you fancy a bet on French racing with the meeting at Chateaubriant in the west of the country starting at 9.25am (BST).

In truth the early exchanges dominated by maiden races and with little form to go on are not attractive betting mediums and whole days action looks about the most mundane set of racing over The Channel since the sport returned.

But wait a little longer and the Fabrice Veron-ridden VIGO (11.55) a decent opening in the Prix de Chantilly.

It’s an early start in France on Monday with the first race at 9.25am in Chateaubriant

The three-year-old struggled on final start in maidens but had shown ability prior to that run and looks interesting on handicap debut.

In the Prix De la Societe Des Courses Des Chateaubriant, IRISH STORM (1.07) won a handicap by a neck at Angers earlier this month. 

He finished well on that occasion and looks the one to beat again here.




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Legend weighs in on bitter 21-year feud

Former Australian captain Mark Taylor has identified when the bitter feud between Shane Warne and Steve Waugh first erupted.

During Australia’s tour of the West Indies in 1999 – which happened to be Waugh’s first Test series as national captain – the visitors were trailing 2-1, and needed nothing less than a victory in the final match at St. John’s to retain the coveted Frank Worrell Trophy.

Warne was coming back from injury and performing far from his best – in the opening three matches, the leg spinner had claimed two wickets at an average of 134. In comparison, teammate Stuart MacGill had taken seven wickets at 35.43.

Trinidadian great Brian Lara – who went on to be named Player of the Series – had been particularly destructive when facing the two wrist spinners, and Waugh decided finger spinner Colin Miller should be selected for the final Test.

Warne therefore lost his spot in the side, which Taylor believes ignited the ongoing 21-year rivalry.

“They’re not best mates, there’s no doubt about that. But when they played together … they were fine,” Taylor said on Channel 9’s Sports Sunday.

“Steve had to make a decision for the last Test against the West Indies in 1999 between his two leg spinners … Warnie was coming back from a shoulder injury and not bowling at his best.

“For the final Test match, Steve went with MacGill and left Warne out, and that certainly irked Shane Warne at the time, and I don’t think he’s ever forgiven him.”

Shane Warne with Steve Waugh in 1999.Source:News Limited

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In the end, Waugh’s decision proved a masterstroke. Australia won the final Test by 176 runs, drawing the series and retaining the Frank Worrell Trophy. Colin Miller finished with commendable match figures of 3/66 off 38 overs, and even chipped in with a quick-fire 43 in the first innings.

Australia has not lost a Test series against the West Indies since.

Despite the victory in St. John’s, Taylor thought the decision to drop Warne – who was a few months later named one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Century – was a mistake.

“At the time, no. I didn’t think it was (the correct decision),” Taylor said on Sunday.

“If you had to make a decision between the two leggies, which I think Australia had to do at that stage because Lara was playing so well, I’d have gone for the guy who’s been great for so long, even though he wasn’t at his best.

“Must-win game, I would’ve gone with Shane Warne.”

Mark Taylor weighs in on the Warnie v Waugh stoush. 🔥

Watch #9SportsSunday Live: https://t.co/gd0SeoTRRi pic.twitter.com/TiyEnmgDNw

In his 2018 autobiography No Spin, Warne admitted he felt “deeply disappointed” with Waugh’s controversial decision.

“Disappointed is not a strong enough word. When the crunch came, (Waugh) didn’t support me, and I felt so totally let down by someone who I had supported big time and was also a good friend,” Warne wrote.

“Looking back, this was probably a combination of the shoulder issue still eating away at me and the pure anger bubbling inside at Steve’s lack of trust. During the first three Tests, at various times some of the bowlers came to me, grumbling about (Waugh’s) captaincy and field placements and stuff. I said I was backing him to the hilt and if they had a problem with the captain they should go see him direct.

“Perhaps because of this, I was deeply disappointed that he didn’t back me in return.”

Steve Waugh with Shane Warne at a training session.Source:News Limited

DILEMMA FROM WORLD CUP’S IMMINENT CANCELLATION

The Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup is under threat of cancellation due to the coronavirus epidemic, and Cricket Australia is frantically assessing how to organise next summer’s schedule.

If October’s World Cup is cancelled, there is a high possibility the Indian Primer League will occupy the vacant gap in the cricket calendar.

However, this means the Australian cricket stars who received lucrative multimillion-dollar IPL contracts will be double-booked. The home summer of cricket and IPL have never clashed before, and there is lingering uncertainty about what action Cricket Australia should take if the situation arises.

As the BCCI essentially controls global cricket, Taylor believes Cricket Australia’s best option is to allow Australia’s players to compete in the IPL and avoid any potential bad blood with the powerhouse nation.

Virat Kohli’s team is scheduled to tour Australia next summer, a Test series which is reportedly worth $300 million in broadcast revenue for Cricket Australia.

Should players play domestic cricket in Australia over lucrative IPL contracts? Where should loyalty lie? #9SportsSunday pic.twitter.com/Wth29pT5g5

“My feeling is the World T20 will not go ahead in Australia in October as planned, and therefore that opens up that window,” Taylor said on Sports Sunday.

“The Cricket Australia Board will want to keep India happy, so they may want to let the players go to India if the IPL goes ahead, because they want India to come here this summer and play in what is going to be out biggest summer in terms of dollars.

“Cricket Australia would like the opportunity for (the players) to do both, provided India come to Australia and cricket in this country continues to thrive.”

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England captain Joe Root reveals how coronavirus saliva ban could help bowlers

England captain Joe Root believes the likely ban on using saliva to shine the ball when cricket resumes should increase the skill of bowlers.

The ICC’s cricketing committee has recommended prohibiting saliva being used due to an ‘elevated risk of transmission’ amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Cricketers often use saliva or sweat to shine the ball to help it swing but Root said of the potential ban: ‘It could work in our favour and up skill levels.

‘Not having the assistance that you might normally have means your accuracy has to improve.

‘Guys will have to find another way to get something out of the surface, whether that’s a bit more effort, changing angles on the crease, using the wobble seam they might not have in their locker.

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‘It could develop our bowlers in a four or five-week period.’

A number of England bowlers returned to individual training this week, with the ECB hoping to stage a behind-closed-doors Test series against West Indies in July.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=UqS6gUaiA3w%3Fversion%3D3%26rel%3D1%26fs%3D1%26autohide%3D2%26showsearch%3D0%26showinfo%3D1%26iv_load_policy%3D1%26wmode%3Dtransparent

England fast bowler Broad told Sky Sports: ‘I have bowled 12 overs so far and felt really good.

‘The key is not to get too excited, too competitive early and push too much. Let the body naturally get used to bowling again.

‘I have three sessions next week of six or seven overs and then my workloads will get up to where I am comfortable bowling at a batsman.

‘You don’t want to bowl at a batsman too early as that’s when you will try and bowl with full force and be under more pressure.

‘We are all in the same boat. It’s not like any team is going to come in with loads more or loads less preparation. It will be an even playing field.’

England were due for fixtures against West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and Ireland this summer but it remains to be seen how much cricket will be played as the world continues to battle the spread of coronavirus.

The 2020 Indian Premier League, usually played between March and May, has been suspended indefinitely and the ECB’s brand-new competition, The Hundred, has been pushed back until the summer of 2021.

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Pontefract plan for racing return in June

Officials at Pontefract are busy preparing for next month’s planned resumption of racing having been allotted two fixtures in the opening weeks of action.

The sport has been on hold since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the British Horseracing Authority is planning for a June 1 return, subject to Government approval.

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Chris Woakes hoping for return to 'some form of normality'

Chris Woakes hoping for return to ‘some form of normality’ as England bowler completes first training session back with ECB hopeful of staging Test series against West Indies and Pakistan at ‘bio-secure’ venues

  • England bowler Woakes returned to the nets for individual training on Thursday
  • Around 18 England bowlers will be in action at 11 county ground by next week
  • ECB are increasingly hopeful summer Test fixtures will be able to go ahead
  • Series with West Indies and Pakistan set to be staged at ‘bio-secure’ grounds 

Chris Woakes has talked about his hopes for a return to cricket action after completing his first individual training session at his home Edgbaston ground.

Woakes, complete with new alice band, bowled for an hour with his own individual box of cricket balls on Thursday while Stuart Broad did the same at Trent Bridge and around 18 England bowlers will be in action at 11 county grounds by the end of next week.

‘It was good,’ said Woakes. ‘It’s what we know and what we do so it was nice to have some form of normality going back to training. 

England bowler Chris Woakes returned to training at Edgbaston on Thursday as the team get back to work in anticipation of Test series against West Indies and Pakistan this summer

Woakes is hopeful of a return to ‘some form of normality’ with behind closed doors Tests

‘It was a lot different to what we are used to but at the same time, after what everyone’s been through, it was quite nice to get out there and do a bit of training and get a ball back in my hand.

‘It’s been two months since I last bowled and it was nice to be back in the middle. I was a bit sore this morning and the first waddle to the toilet was a bit interesting but it was okay.’

The ECB are increasingly hopeful they will be able to stage their two proposed Test series against West Indies and Pakistan this summer, starting at the Ageas Bowl against West Indies on July 8, and Woakes emphasised the importance of those plans to the future of the game.

Woakes trained on his own on the Edgbaston pitch, combining fitness work and some bowling

The fast bowler works out with a medicine ball on the Edgbaston outfield this week

Woakes cleans his hands with sanitiser as he trains at Edgbaston this week

‘First and foremost we just hope there will be some form of cricket,’ he said. ‘It will look a bit different behind closed doors but at the same time it will be nice to have cricket and some form of normality. 

‘Hopefully we can get some games but what the schedule will actually look like I suppose we don’t really know. I’m hopeful we can get some cricket because it would be a boost for the game.

‘We’ve all seen the projections and the ECB and the game in general could be in a bit of trouble if we don’t get any cricket this summer so hopefully we can get some form of schedule going.’




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Forever In Dreams to start season at Naas

Aidan Fogarty is looking forward to a four-year-old campaign with his high-class filly Forever In Dreams, starting at Naas when racing in Ireland resumes on June 8.

The Woodlands Stakes will be the target on the opening afternoon for the daughter of Dream Ahead, before what will be a third trip to Royal Ascot – this year for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

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