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Page last updated at 15:37 GMT, Monday, 27 April 2009 16:37 UK

Woakes must be protected - Giles

Chris Woakes
Chris Woakes is the spearhead of the Bears' attack at the tender age of 20

Warwickshire pace bowler Chris Woakes may have to be wrapped in cotton wool according to the county's director of cricket Ashley Giles.

Woakes, 20, is with the England Lions to face the West Indies in Derby this week after a busy start to the season.

But Giles told BBC WM: "It's important that we look after Chris, and I've made that point as an England selector.

"He played in the MCC game, he's played two Championship games, and he's got another one this week on his week off."

Woakes burst on to the county scene last summer, finishing the summer as the Bears' leading wicket-taker despite being only a teenager.

"Chris seems like a seasoned pro," said Giles. "But he's played one season, he's 20 years old, and there are exciting times ahead."

He's tall and can bowl fast. We've just got to keep him fit

Warwickshire director of cricket Ashley Giles on Boyd Rankin

Warwickshire have placed their faith in an inexperienced seam attack for their return to Division One of the County Championship. But Giles saw plenty of positives during last week's drawn game with Hampshire at Edgbaston.

He was particularly impressed by the efforts of fast bowler Boyd Rankin, who returned from an international tournament in South Africa with the bit between his teeth.

"He's got great attributes - he's tall, he can bowl fast, the ball bounces from nowhere," said the former England spinner. "We've just got to keep him fit."

The Bears have drawn their opening two Championship games against Somerset and Hampshire, but the story could have been different if they had taken all their chances in the field on the final day of the latter game at Edgbaston.

"We dropped too many chances," added Giles. "And you can only blame yourselves if you let too many catches go through your hands.

"It's disappointing, but I think we've still played some really good cricket during this game with the bat, and I thought Ant Botha bowled really well."

The Bears return to action at Edgbaston on Sunday 3 May against Scotland in the Friends Provident Trophy.

But, before that, Woakes will be joined by Warwickshire colleagues Tim Ambrose, Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell at Derby this week for the Lions.

Meanwhile, Warwickshire all-rounder Rikki Clarke has set the early pace in this year's race for the Walter Lawrence Trophy.

Celebrating its 75th year, the Trophy, awarded for the fastest hundred of the season, is now open to all domestic county competitions.

And Clarke's 78-ball hundred, including 20 fours, in the County Championship draw against Hampshire on Friday is the early contender.



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