Birmingham (AFP): Pakistan’s batsmen can expect Mark Wood to cause a “lot of problems with the white ball” when they face the England fast bowler during the upcoming one-day international series.
The warning has come from Paul Collingwood, Wood’s captain at north-east county Durham.
Wood, 26, has been troubled by persistent ankle injuries and hasn’t played for England since a Test match against Pakistan in Dubai last October.
However, he has been included in England’s squad for a five-match ODI series against Pakistan starting in Southampton on Wednesday.
Wood showed just how good a bowler he can be with a brilliant spell of four for 25 in his maximum four overs during Durham’s seven-run Twenty20 Blast semi-final win over Yorkshire at Edgbaston on Saturday.
Wood took two wickets for no runs in three balls to dismiss current England batsmen Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance before accounting for Liam Plunkett and Tim Bresnan.
He bowled Bairstow (three) with a near yorker-length delivery and dismissed Ballance for a duck when the left-hander’s glance was brilliantly caught at leg gully by diving former England all-rounder Collingwood.
Meanwhile Wood, who topped speeds of 90mph and moved the ball in the air and off the seam, made life so difficult for Joe Root, one of the world’s best batsmen, that the England star said: “He made me look as if I was batting with my hands and feet on backwards.”
Wood was unable to repeat his heroics in the final, taking one for 25 as Durham — who managed a modest total of 153 for eight — suffered a four-wicket defeat by Northamptonshire.
But former England all-rounder Collingwood was in no doubt of Wood’s Twenty20 quality.
– ‘Pure pace’ -“He’s ideal for this form of the game because he knows he’s only got four overs to bowl and he’s going to try to bowl every single one at full tilt,” Collingwood told reporters after the final.
“He’s not worried about second or third spells. He’s a genuine wicket-taker and in the current game of T20 cricket, where guys give themselves a base and want to hit out, it certainly gives you another thing to think about when you can get hit on the head at real pace.
“That’s why he takes his wickets. He got good quality international batsmen out today (Saturday) with pure pace. He’s a great man to have in a T20 side.”
And Collingwood was confident Ashes-winner Wood’s fitness would hold up in the longer 50 overs per side ODI format, where bowlers are permitted a maximum of 10 overs each.
“Certainly in white ball (limited overs), he’s ready because, as I said he doesn’t have to come back for second and third spells,” Collingwood added.
“He bowled 20-odd overs against Middlesex last week in a four-day (first-class, County Championship) game and obviously his body is still getting used to those sort of spells, but he is going to cause a lot of problems with the white ball, that’s for sure.”
Saturday’s final saw Wood strike with his first ball to dismiss Adam Rossington, but he could no nothing as man-of-the-match Josh Cobb (80) and Northamptonshire captain Alex Wakely (43) took care to see him off in a key partnership of 120.
“He’s quick,” said Wakely. “He bowled some quick balls out there — he’s going to get back in that England team before long.
“We said ‘it doesn’t matter if (his overs) goes for two or three (runs), just get through it and we can capitalise on the other bowlers.”