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Wood warns England players have target on their back

The World Cup favourites will bid to bounce back from defeat against Bangladesh.

Mark Wood believes England are the marked men of the World Cup (Mark Kerton/PA)
Mark Wood believes England are the marked men of the World Cup (Mark Kerton/PA)

Mark Wood has warned England have “a huge target on our back” as they look to get their World Cup campaign back on track against Bangladesh.

Defeat to an unfancied Pakistan on Monday shifted the narrative for Eoin Morgan’s world number ones, who had kicked off the tournament with a commanding victory over South Africa.

Their fallibility is now a matter of record, undone on their favourite Trent Bridge pitch by opponents they had just defeated 4-0 only weeks ago.

Moeen Ali’s batting has come in for criticism (David Davies/PA)

Questions abound – over the curiously ragged fielding performance in Nottingham, over the opening pair’s ability to face spin early on and Moeen Ali’s increasingly unreliable batting at number seven.

Yet Wood believes England are still the competition’s biggest scalp and called for them to serve up a performance fitting of that status against the Tigers on Saturday.

“We have a huge target on our back because we are the favourites for the tournament, the home side, and everyone wants to beat us,” he said.

“I think what we have done well over the years is bounce back well and I think we need that going into the next match. We need to bounce back with a bit of authority and say ‘we’re here to win it’, put on a real show.”

Mark Wood has admitted the mood is not always good in the England camp (Simon Cooper/PA)

Wood is known for his upbeat demeanour, on and off the field, but acknowledged there was no time for smiles after the Pakistan result.

“The mood is not always good,” he admitted.

“We’ve been so used to winning that when you do lose, it’s not a nice feeling. The lads were disappointed in the dressing-room because we lost a game for England which never comes easy.

“The best thing is that the captain is quite calm so he just addressed where we weren’t good enough. When we win, he doesn’t get too high. When we lose, he doesn’t get too low.

Liam Plunkett is expected to return for England against Bangladesh (Nigel French/PA)

“There are lessons learned, but we’ve been learning lessons for four years. This isn’t a thing where we say we need to change the wheel.”

Wood did not play in the win over South Africa, drafted in place of Liam Plunkett as England attempted to exploit perceived pace weaknesses in the Pakistan line-up.

He was comfortably the pick of the England seamers but Plunkett’s trademark ability to make breakthroughs in the middle of the innings ultimately proved a loss.

The 34-year-old looks likely to return at Sophia Gardens but may well line up alongside Wood rather than instead of him. The former Durham team-mates have a friendship far stronger than any selectorial rivalry and Wood discovered a newfound respect for Plunkett when he tried to step into shoes.

“Liam has taken a million wickets in the middle overs and I was thinking the first thing I have to do is get a wicket,” he said of his new role at as the first-change bowler.

“I didn’t get a wicket until the 43rd and I was there thinking he’s still the main man!

“Cardiff is a place with big square boundaries and Liam has bowled well there in the past so he would probably come back in. It’s just who for or which bowler might be left out, I don’t think my place is guaranteed.”

England are not back in full training until Friday but there will be an optional net session in Cardiff on Thursday, followed by a community coaching event where a handful of squad members will pass on tips to the next generation in South Wales.



From Belfast Telegraph