England vs India 2018: Chris Woakes under injury cloud for fourth Test
Ahead of the crucial fourth Test against India at Southampton, England have been given a major injury scare as Chris Woakes appears doubtful. The all-rounder experienced tightness in his right quadriceps muscle and hence missed his team's training session on Tuesday.
A spokesperson from England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had earlier stated, "Woakes has tightness in his right quad and will not train today. We will take a view of where he is at tomorrow."
With a like for like replacement in Sam Curran at their disposal, England have opted against calling up another all-rounder as cover. If Woakes does not regain adequate fitness at the eve of the game, the 20-year old could enter the playing eleven.
The surface at the Ageas Bowl sported a greenish tinge. However, it remains unclear how much grass will be left by the groundstaff before play begins. In such a scenario, the team management will be hoping for Woakes to recover in time as his accurate seam bowling and technically solid lower-order batting add significant depth to the playing eleven.
Woakes suffered an injury to his right quad during the second Test against Pakistan at Headingley in June. After not being considered for selection during the limited-overs matches against India, he returned to competitive cricket in England Lions' four-day match against the visiting India 'A' team in July.
Sam Curran took his spot in the first Test against India at Trent Bridge and clinched the Player of the Match award. However, Ben Stokes' court trial provided an opportunity for Woakes to get back into the playing eleven for the second Test at Lord's.
Under murky conditions at Lord's, Woakes rattled India's first-innings by removing skipper Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya in quick succession. Coming into bat with his team stationed at 131/5, the right-hander took the game away from the visitors by compiling his maiden Test century.
Fittingly, Woakes picked up the final wicket to fall in the second Test and was named Player of the Match. Consequently, he kept his place in the lineup for the third Test at Trent Bridge even as Stokes re-joined the squad.
Although they will be fretting on Woakes' injury status, England have received a significant boost for the fourth Test. While it remains uncertain if he will retain the wicket-keeping gloves, Jonny Bairstow has been declared fit.
The fourth Test will begin on Thursday at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.