England all-rounder Chris Woakes believes ‘personal’ issues should not be used in any sledging during the upcoming Ashes series scheduled to begin on December 8. Off-field controversies have managed to hog the limelight ahead of the first Ashes Test due to begin at Gabba in Brisbane. Prominent among those have been racism and sexism.
England have been hit hard by Azeem Rafiq’s racism claims, while Tim Paine resigned by captaincy following sexting scandal. Australia wicketkeeper- batter has also taken an indefinite break from the game. Woakes feels on-field performance should be given importance.
“I think what’s happened in both camps, a lot of the issues are personal and cricket is played best when that sort of stuff is left to the side and we let the skills do the talking, which I’m sure will happen. In my experience, playing in three Ashes series, it’s not overstepped the line once when I’ve been around.," Woakes said according to Cricket 365.
The England-Australia rivalry is one of the biggest in sport. The Ashes series is also one of the most-watched contests with England and Australia fighting tooth nail to bag top honors. Woakes expects this year’s Ashes series to be hard-fought.
“I don’t see it being any different. I’m sure the cricket will be hard-fought, as it always is, and it will be a great series to watch.”
Woakes further opined that he is looking forward to his battle with Steve Smith, and hopes to keep him quiet for a long time. Smith was the leading run-scorer during the 2019 Ashes series. He scored 774 runs and played a pivotal role in Australia drawing the series 2-2.
“I’ve bowled at Steve quite a lot. He’s a world-class player and had a lot of success against us as an England team. We’ve got to figure out ways to keep him quiet because, relatively speaking, when he does well Australia do well,” Woakes said.