Paceman Mark Wood says he is hungry to represent England in all formats despite only holding a white-ball contract for the 2020/21 season after missing out on the tourists’ 3-0 demolition of South Africa in the recent T20 series.
Wood was left on the sidelines for the shortest format against the Proteas, despite being fully fit, but insists he wants to add to his 11 T20 international caps as well as play more Test cricket in the future.
The 30-year-old has proved particularly effective in Test cricket overseas, taking 18 wickets in his last six games, and with the Ashes in Australia looming next winter Wood is determined to take part.
S Africa vs England
December 4, 2020, 10:30am
More immediately, his focus is on impressing in the three-match ODI series against South Africa which gets underway on Friday – a series that England go into without the rested Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes and Sam Curran.
“Yes, I’m looking forward to it if I get a chance in this bit,” said Wood. “Unfortunately I didn’t get a go in the T20s but with a few of the lads going home it gives a few of the lads an opportunity to try and get a game now so I’m looking forward to trying and put my name in the hat for the first ODI.
“I had a conversation with Morgy [captain Eoin Morgan] before the first one just saying it was a tough call but we were going to go with the team that they went with. It wasn’t anything that I’d done wrong; they thought I was preparing well and things but that was the gut feeling that he had. That’s international sport. I feel like I did alright in the Australia T20s but we’ve just won 3-0 here so it looks to be a good call.
“I don’t think I need to make a point to the coach or the captain – it’s more the fact that I’ve been training well and I’ve been trying to keep myself ready in case I was needed. Now there is an opportunity that I can potentially play. It’s not trying too hard or trying to prove a point; it’s just stick to the stuff that I’ve been doing well recently.”
Wood’s career has been interrupted by a succession of injuries, most notably in 2016 when he underwent a third operation on his left ankle in the space of a year.
The Durham fast bowler says that while his body can cope with the demands of bowling quick, he doesn’t want to be limited to white-ball cricket only.
“Recently it’s gone a bit better with injury,” he said. “Although I still do get injuries, I’ve played a little bit more cricket so while my body can cope I would still like to play all formats. If my body can’t cope in the future that’s something I might have to think about again.”
Despite his disappointment at missing out on the T20 series, Wood remains upbeat, saying: “I still hold core values of being a good team bloke; the team always comes first and you always want your mates to do well.”
None has done better than Dawid Malan, whose aggregate of 173 runs against South Africa has helped him to attain the highest-ever rating points for batsmen in the ICC’s T20 Player Rankings.
“There was a stat read out last night that Chris Gayle had 10 fifties in 25 games and Malan’s done it in 19. Chris Gayle calls himself the Universe Boss so we’ve started calling Dawid the Milky Way boss, so that’s him from now on,” said Wood.
Wood also sees the funny side in England’s decision to trial a signal system in the third T20, when analyst Nathan Leamon positioned coded signs on the dressing room balcony to offer Morgan tactical advice.
“I thought it was shoe sizes at one point,” joked Wood. “It wouldn’t honestly bother me if somebody’s holding something up. Until this morning I honestly didn’t even know about it – that’s how much notice I took.
“I think it’s good for the captain to have. Morgy is a very instinctive captain anyway, so I’m not sure he needs the information there. Nathan does a good job so any little bit that helps is good but I’m too busy worrying about other things.
“They [England] cleared it with the match referee first so if they didn’t think that, then I’m sure they’d say no. Maybe this is part of the new wave cricket; we’re always looking for ways to improve and maybe this is. The analyst gets to hold up a scorecard like Craig Revel Horwood and then we’ve got a new game show.”
Don’t miss England’s three-match ODI series in South Africa. Our live coverage of the first game begins at 10.30am on Friday.
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