Former England captain Nasser Hussain has hailed the effort of all-rounder Chris Woakes, who took four wickets and played an unbeaten knock of 84 runs to guide England to an incredible victory against Pakistan in the first Test at Old Trafford.
“It was incredible Test match cricket. Most wins lift a dressing room and you’re thrilled in there but there are certain wins that the dressing room will absolutely love and that was one for England because of who was involved in that win,” Hussain wrote for his column in Sky Sports.
“Chris Woakes is probably the most popular man in that dressing room, probably the most under-valued cricketer by England really,” he added.
Calling him the least popular player in the team, Hussain said that Woakes fail to grab the headlines because of the number of “superstars” the current England team have.
“He always does it, he always goes under the radar and he is always the one who is left out because the superstars in that side – the 500-wicket boys, the nearly 600-wicket boy – but he is always there for England. He said on interview last night that he could do with a few more runs and he certainly delivered today,” Hussain further wrote.
Explaining how Woakes’ batting at number seven took the momentum away from Pakistan, Hussain wrote, “But on a fourth day pitch, a little bit uneven, a little bit of spin, two wrist-spinners, a bloke who is struggling for runs – can’t buy a run – dealing in binary digits, to go out and be 80-odd not out and win the game with his batting, that is the bit that surprised everyone.”
“On top of that, England were not playing the extra batsman, they left out Zak Crawley so everyone is saying is Woakes good enough to bat at seven? That was the innings that turned the game, it was Woakes,” Hussain added.
Meanwhile, Woakes and Jos Buttler batted brilliantly on Saturday and shared a ballistic 139-run partnership for the sixth wicket rescue England from 117/5 and take them 1-0 up in the three-match series.
Chasing a target of 277 runs, England were put in a tricky situation after tbey lost some quick wickets to the enthusiastic Pakistan attack. From 86/1, England were reduced to 117/5 in a span of less than 10 overs.
It was Buttler and Woakes’ counter-attacking knock that stopped the Pakistani charge in the second session. The pair continued their rampage after Tea and both soon raced to their respective half centuries.