England star bowler Chris Woakes admits he has wondered whether the bug that ruined England’s first part of the tour of South Africa last season and left him confined to his hotel room for a couple of days was coronavirus.
Flu-like signs and gastroenteritis swept through the tourists’ camp, and one of the affected was Woakes, who missed the Boxing Day Test at Centurion and was isolated in an effort to prevent the spread of infection.
Well, no English player has been tested for the disease, and Woakes mentioned his symptoms would suggest more of indigestion.
He stated: “You do look back and kind of wonder, I suppose. Obviously, we have no idea whether it was or it wasn’t. My symptoms during that time and I was stuck in that room for almost a week were more gastro.”
“There were flu-type symptoms in there as well whether that was down to dehydration and that side of things I’m not sure.”
“At the same time, it would be wrong for us to sit here and say we definitely had it because the symptoms being suggested relating to coronavirus seem to be more with the cough.”
“There are obviously fever-like symptoms as well, so it’s a tricky one.”
The global pandemic has led to stop of cricket events in this country until at least May 28 and further delays seem possible.
As a seamer, Woakes will be keen to observe whatever the decision is, although he mentioned reverse swing could become important if polishing the ball by traditional methods is considered unsustainable.
When the cricket does get the green signal to resume the play, fielding sides may get banned for shining one side of the ball with sweat or saliva to gain lateral movement.
“If they said it was going to be for three months, I think players might not be too keen.”
That may demand the players are spending more time away from their families. Woakes, whose wife Amie is pregnant with their second child due in September, said of the prospect: “It depends how long for.”
He said: “It could potentially change the way things work with the ball. If you completely cut out putting saliva on the ball how much that would affect the ball swinging, I don’t know.
“We might find the ball stays dryer, and you might get more reverse swing, but obviously conditions would depend on that.”
While Woakes is not regular in the Test side, he is a one-day international regular and was important with the ball at the start of an innings and during the death during England’s historic World Cup win last year.
When England safeguards their crown in India in three years’ time, Woakes will turn 34 during the tournament, added: “I’d be lying if I said I don’t want to be a part of the World Cup winning team.”
“To be the first Englishmen to try and defend a World Cup, it would be great to be a part of that. It’s certainly a target in the back of my mind.”