Mark Wood has admitted that he is racing against time to make an impression and fetch a spot in England’s 15-member squad for the World Cup next year. Wood, whose career has been hampered by injuries, is all set to feature in his 35th ODI on Tuesday (October 23) in Colombo against hosts Sri Lanka and will be looking to mark.
By his own admission, Wood says he is competing with four other seamers for one spot in the World Cup squad. “In my mind, there’s one spot in the squad for five of us,” Wood said ahead of the final ODI. “Liam Plunkett is going to play: he’s been our best bowler for a while. Chris Woakes has been so consistent. He is a great bowler and he is going to take the new ball. And Ben Stokes balances the team.
“So you’ve got one spot between me, Tom Curran, who feels he has got his slower ball back, Olly Stone, who bowls rockets and is ahead of me at the moment, Sam Curran, who can bat, and David Willey, who had a good summer. We’re all probably vying for that one spot.”
With England scheduled to play only five more ODIs after the Sri Lankan tour before the World Cup squad is announced, Wood’s chances to impress are going to be minimal. And if the selectors decide to favour the inclusion of a left-arm seamer, Wood is likely to miss out. “It can be frustrating when you are just on the outside with a World Cup around the corner,” he noted. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have one eye on that.
“I know that, if I don’t do well here, I am one tour away from not making that World Cup squad. And that’s something we’ve been building up to for over four years. Ever since the last one. So I’ve got to do the business.”
The 28-year-old also revealed that he is preparing to unleash a few slower balls that he has been working on lately, hoping they would help him gain an advantage over the rest. “I’ve managed to swing the new ball out here so that has been a plus,” he pointed out. “And I have been trying to work on a few new slower balls. I feel I can get better with a few slower balls. But I’m against the clock a little bit. Everyone is fighting for that one spot so it is not like I can keep working on a slower ball for the next three years.
“Some of the net sessions have been pretty hairy as all the bowlers have been charging in trying to get a spot in the side. I’ve just got to prove myself and get better. And if I can do that, hopefully, I should get my spot back.”