MARK Wood is hoping to wobble his way into Joe Root’s affections by proving he can offer more than just raw pace in his bid to become England’s Test spearhead.
Wood will be the quickest bowler on show against New Zealand and India this summer with Jofra Archer spending an extended period on the sidelines.
But the 31-year-old pride of the North-East reckons he needs to offer more in the skills department if he is to improve on his record of playing four home Tests in the last four years.
“I’ve loved playing first-class cricket for Durham again,” said Wood. “And I’m fit and ready to go for England now.
“I’ve been trying a few new skills that I’ve been working on because even though I’m tagged as a fast bowler I’m trying to add more to my repertoire.
“I’ve been working on my ‘wobble seam’ delivery which is something that is not natural to me, so I’ve been using it in the games and it is getting better.
“I was disappointed not to play more last summer. I thought I might get back in the team on rotation, but it didn’t happen.
“I did ask, what is it I need to do to get back in the team? What do I need to do better? And it seems that away from home my record is pretty good, but at home it isn’t that great.
“So I need to look at what Jimmy, Broady and Woakesy do at home that makes them so successful and that is what I am working on.”
Fair play to Wood for trying to find an edge that might help him add to the 18 Test caps he has won over six hard fought years.
But he might also justifiably wonder whether Root has invested enough faith in him ahead of an Ashes campaign this winter where he will be asked to put the frighteners up the Aussies with pace rather than wobble.
It is not Wood’s style to grumble, knowing that those picked ahead of him did a pretty good job last summer, but this time around it could be his chance to shine.
“Although there can be some personal frustration at not playing, you have to understand that we’ve got a bloody good bowling lineup,” admitted Wood as he launched England’s new partnership with cinch. “And when you’re winning games it is hard to get in.
“The game I did play against the Windies, I didn’t exactly pull up trees, neither did too many others. We didn’t play well as a team.
“After that you can’t just pick people for the sake of it, this is international sport and we’re trying to win games for England, so I got my head down and tried to get better.
“Hopefully I can build some confidence in the Test arena where later in the year I can go to Australia and say to Spoons (head coach Chris Silverwood) ‘look I want to be one of the main picks, I want to be one of the first guys on the team sheet’ rather than a fringe player.”
England cricketer Mark Wood was supporting cinch, England cricket’s principal partner, as Ramsbottom CC took on the pro’s in the ultimate faff-free match. Head to @cinchUK on Tuesday, when England take on New Zealand, to see for yourself!
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