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Woakes aims to return to face India despite ‘chronic’ knee injury

The all-rounder is recovering from a tear in his right thigh and needs injections for a long-standing knee problem.

Chris Woakes must defy a “chronic” knee injury if he is to return for England in time for next month’s one-day international series against India.

Woakes, who is currently recovering from a tear in his right thigh and has had an injection to treat the long-standing knee problem in the same leg, is resigned to occasionally having to play through associated pain.

Even so, he insists he feels “a million dollars” compared to the discomfort when he had to limp out of England’s Test victory over Pakistan at Headingley at the start of this month.

For the second successive summer, Woakes has been active at the lucrative and high-profile Indian Premier League only to then encounter injury soon afterwards and miss England fixtures.

Last year, a side injury struck in the first match of the hosts’ Champions Trophy campaign – and he admits he may end up skipping the IPL next spring, with a home World Cup starting at the end of May.

As England bid for an unassailable 3-0 lead over Australia, on the eve of the third one-day international in Nottingham, the 29-year-old said: “I’m aiming for the India ODIs – and fingers crossed I can play some cricket before then, so I’m ready.

“The word ‘chronic’ makes it look like it’s drastic.

“But the knee is not something I’m worried about. I’ve had it for the last nine years, but the quad is something I need to strengthen.”

Woakes was speaking while supporting children’s charity Chance to Shine during ‘Yorkshire Tea National Cricket Week’ which gives thousands of children across the country the opportunity to play and learn through cricket.

Recalling the moment injury struck in Leeds, he said: “I didn’t think it was going to be too bad at first, but the scans showed a big tear.

“Because I’ve had an ongoing problem with the knee and I haven’t been able to strengthen the leg as much as I’d like to, it’s kind of buckled under the weight of playing a Test.

“I’ve had the same problem for about eight or nine years, and it’s been niggling away at me.

“But I’ve got on with it and put up with the odd niggle, because it’s not the sort of thing that will get better overnight.

“I don’t know what the definition of ‘chronic’ is, but it doesn’t really stop me from playing cricket.

“It just flares up – and during Headingley it felt sore – but compared to a couple of weeks ago (now) it feels like a million dollars.”

– Donations to Chance to Shine will be doubled by the charity’s patron Adrian Beecroft this summer. Donate at chancetoshine.org/donate.

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