Wood confesses “self doubt” about Test future after one-day return
The Durham seamer confessed to “self doubt” about his fitness.
Mark Wood may be increasingly important to England’s thriving one-day set-up but the paceman admits to questioning if he is built for Test cricket.
Wood’s effervescent mix of raw speed, natural aggression and disarming smiles would have been a welcome sight during the Ashes, when England’s attack lacked express pace, but a recurring ankle injury kept him on the sidelines.
He has returned to play a full part in the subsequent ODI fightback – with England 3-0 up and seeking a whitewash heading into Friday’s clash at the Adelaide Oval – but question marks remain.
We have arrived in Adelaide! pic.twitter.com/m7oAS6OxtH— England Cricket (@englandcricket) January 23, 2018
England would love to see him transfer his white-ball venom to the five-day game but are unsure if they can rely on a player who has played just 10 of the 40 Tests since his debut in 2015.
And, in a refreshingly honest assessment, he has revealed his own concerns.
“Of course the self-doubt has been there because my record doesn’t back up that I can do it,” he said.
“Test cricket is the format that I want to play but, if you look at history, it shows that I’ve not been successful at doing it. “That self-doubt, from my own point of view, is can my body withstand five-days of hard cricket… then a couple of days off and five more days of hard cricket?
“The intensity is totally different. Playing for Durham, you bowl 20-overs in the day and you come back the next day and feel alright. You bowl 13 in Test cricket and you’re absolutely shattered. It’s totally different intensity.
“That’s what I am striving for and hoping to prove my doubters wrong, prove it to myself too.
“It’s easy saying it time after time but until I actually do it it’s pointless. I have played that tune 45 times.”
If there is a sense of vulnerability in Wood’s words, it does not leak into his view of the current one-day campaign.
England have exuded confidence and control en route to victories in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney and make little secret that a first five-match whitewash against the old enemy is the talk of the dressing room.
Wood is happy to call for a clean sweep, point blank refusing to pay deference to a side who are reigning world champions and preferring to engage them in battle.
“I don’t know if it’s the sort of character I am but I don’t see that aura about them,” he said.
“I know they’re good players but I want to take the fight to them. They’re obviously good players so will hit me for four, six or whatever. But I don’t feel, before I walk out that I’m frightened to do it with the ball. I feel like if I do to the best of my ability, I can come out on top.”
England will make an enforced change to their winning team as they look to ruin Australia Day for their hosts, with Liam Plunkett (hamstring) ruled out.
That means a recall for one of David Willey or Tom Curran and Wood believes both are ready to put their hand up.
“David struggled with a little bit of form last year but he’s gone away and worked on little bits and bobs on his action,” he said.
Hopefully not to bad. pic.twitter.com/NOrtvYUqFt— Liam plunkett (@Liam628) January 21, 2018
“He’s got his mojo back, swinging the ball consistently and looks really good. Tom, I think, is suited to one-day cricket with his slower ball and the way he gets his yorkers in.
“We’ve got this backlog of a squad, not just 11 players, we have other lads who can come in and do good jobs.”