England fast bowler Mark Wood hopes to finish a frustrating season with a flourish during an upcoming white-ball series against Australia and lay down a marker ahead of the 2021/22 Ashes.
The Durham quick has been largely surplus to England’s requirements in a home season taking place against the backdrop of the coronavirus.
Wood featured in the first Test against the West Indies at Southampton in July — a match England lost — and hasn’t played international cricket since, failing to earn a recall in the remainder of that series and in England’s three Tests against Pakistan last month.
But with England having completed their Test programme for the season, and no longer having a need to field separate red and white-ball squads, Wood has been selected for a three-match Twenty20 series against Australia at Southampton that starts on Friday and three subsequent one-day internationals against the same opponents later this month.
The 30-year-old said it had been “hard mentally” living in a bio-secure bubble for two months while hardly playing but that he was not the type to go “moaning and groaning” to the selectors.
“You never want to be left out, or the easy drop,” Wood told a conference call on Wednesday.
“It’s not my style to shout and scream. I have a great relationship with (England head coach) Chris Silverwood and I just asked him honestly what I needed to do to get in the team and improve.
“He said he was happy with me but just that I didn’t get selected. I think once you know you are not in the team, you are disappointed but you are very lucky to still be in a squad playing for England.”
– ‘Biggest rivals’ –
Wood was a member of the England side that won the 50-over World Cup last year and he now has a chance to resume his international white-ball career.
“It’s always good when you play for England, don’t get me wrong, but there’s an extra incentive when you play Australia, your biggest rivals,” said Wood, a member of the England side that defeated the Australians in the semi-finals of the World Cup.
“They are desperate to beat you, you are desperate to beat them.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s the Ashes, white ball, T20. We’ll be desperate to beat them.”
Although the formats are different, Wood said bowling well in the upcoming matches could help give him an edge over some of Australia’s Test-match batsmen.
He cited the example of Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, who overpowered England’s batsmen in the 2013/14 Ashes series after some strong performances in limited overs matches between the arch-rivals in the previous year.
Wood also referenced the way in which England paceman Stuart Broad had dominated Australia opener David Warner during last year’s Ashes as a case of a bowler establishing a hold over a batsman.
“That example (Johnson against England), everyone still talks about how rapid he was in the one-day series and then you carry that over to the Test matches.
“It’s a very different format, a very different game. But there’ll always be talk about the Broad and Warner situation,” Wood said.
“If you can get the wood over them, and can start the ball rolling with a couple of players here, I’m sure they’ll be thinking about that whatever the format.”