Mark Wood. A promising player that so far his international career hasn’t taken off due to predominately longer term injury and less match time in 4/5 day formats. He has pace – 90mph+ to be precise and has bounce that can frighten any top order batsman around the world. He has 156 first class wickets at an average of 27.83 and 8 five wicket hauls. His impact for England has come mainly in shorter formats with ODI being his stronger suit. Yet, going into 2019 his place at the Cricket World Cup looks in doubt due to his lack of match time and the better form from the likes of Tom Curran, Olly Stone and David Willey. Speculation before and during the 2017 Ashes series didn’t prove to be the case as he didn’t feature. At the age of 29, Wood’s playing days are shortening due to his various injuries and something needs to click for such a promising player.
His call up to the West Indian Test Series comes as Warwickshire’s Olly Stone flies back home with a stress fracture in his back. Stone has had limited opportunity on the International stage with his debut series coming in Sri Lanka (October 2018) and impressed with his pace and heavy bounce in the ODI series. Wood comes in as a like for like replacement but his lack of match practice in the Test arena might mean he plays as a back up seamer.
However, Wood brings a new dimension to West Indies which England should take advantage of with his old and new ball skills alongside his quick pace which will test the inexperienced West Indies batsmen. Whilst, England might not use Wood to change a winning formula, this will be Wood’s chance to show he can be an England Test fast bowler in a permanent position. He has the attributes but not the performances in the arena to show his worth to the side.
Away from Wood, England will be faced a tricky challenge with West Indies making wholesale changes to fix a losing team. But, England’s impressive form in Sri Lanka most notably with their spinners leaves them favourites in similar away conditions to make it 2 on the bounce.
Wood’s chance has come and he will be sure to make the most of it as his International selection hangs in the jungle. To read more articles cricket related, revisit the site and comment below whether Wood will start in West Indies?