Chris Woakes has been tasked with leading the England bowling attack on their tour of the West Indies, with the 33-year-old their most experienced seamer in the absence of James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
England's interim managing director Sir Andrew Strauss has asked Woakes to embrace a "senior leadership role" and the World Cup winner is keen to impress in the Caribbean.
However, things could have been very different for Woakes, who was also a promising footballer in his youth and was once offered a contract by Walsall as a teenager.
Woakes was part of their school of excellence and forced to make a decision between football and cricket.
He ultimately chose to pursue cricket with Warwickshire and made his first-class debut as a 17-year-old in a tour match against the West Indies in 2006, before becoming an England international in 2011.
"I played football until I was about 14 but then I chose to go down the cricket route," Woakes reflected after his England debut.
"I had a contract with them [Walsall] until I was 16 but I got offered the Warwickshire academy so I decided to take that a bit more seriously."
Woakes' older half-brother, Dave, told the Times: "He was a good player, a right-sided midfielder. The family joke is that he went for cricket because he knew he would get muddy playing football."
However, the all-rounder did admit to childhood cricket coach Keith Forman that he might have picked football had he been offered a contract by his beloved Aston Villa instead of Walsall.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Forman, who coached Woakes at Aston Manor cricket club, said: "He was a super footballer as a kid. At 14 he had to make the choice between football and cricket.
"He'd often say, 'If I was on Aston Villa's books I would have made the choice of football', but thankfully he wasn't. I think it was the best decision he ever made."
Woakes has supported Villa since he was a child, with his father Roger passing on his love for the club.
"Villa have been in my blood since day one," Woakes told Villa's official website. "My Dad's always been a huge fan, and always used to tell me stories of being on the terraces as a youngster.
"He's a local lad and I was born in Birmingham, so I've been claret and blue since that moment. I've loved the club for as long as I can remember.
"One of my first games was Nottingham Forest at home in 1996, where we beat them 2-0 after goals from Carl Tiler and Dwight Yorke.
"I'd have only been about six at the time. But I remember clear as day sitting in the Doug Ellis stand and looking at what was a very different stadium for the first time back then.
"From that afternoon, I was well and truly in love with the club."
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