England v Pakistan: Speed not the main issue for pace star Mark Wood

Mark Wood believes he can crank up his genuine express pace even further despite comfortably topping 90mph on his long-awaited England return.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 25th August 2016, 10:48 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 11:49 pm
FEELING BETTER: England's Jason Roy, inaction against Pakistan in Southampton. Picture: Adam Davy/PA
FEELING BETTER: England's Jason Roy, inaction against Pakistan in Southampton. Picture: Adam Davy/PA

The Durham paceman has put all thoughts of chasing a new central contract to the back of his mind to focus on re-establishing himself with England.

The 26-year-old has spent a year battling ankle trouble and undergoing two operations, but is finally approaching something like top speed.

Wood topped 92mph in England’s rain-hit 44-run one-day international victory over Pakistan at Southampton.

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Asked if he can still up the ante on the speed front, Wood said: “I reckon I could, yeah.

“When you get that rhythm and match fitness back. I’ve been rushed back through to get some game time having missed the first half of the summer.

“And I’ve been desperate to play so I’ve not really had that time where I’ve been getting used to bowling and bowling again.

“I’ve only played two Championship games, and in one of those I only bowled 14 overs. So if I get that match fitness back up, hopefully I can bowl even quicker.”

England will take on Pakistan in the second of five one-day clashes at Lord’s tomorrow, with Wood hoping he can back up his impressive opening-match showing.

With Durham embroiled in financial struggles and Wood’s central contract up for renewal, he insisted he must simply focus on finding his niche in England’s short-format line-ups.

“It’s complicated off the field at Durham, and everyone knows there are issues there,” said Wood.

“My situation is to focus solely on getting back in the England team first.

“I love the North East, I’m a North East lad.

“Am I confident of a central contract? I wouldn’t say so, but I know that part of the reason that we give out central contracts is to look after fast bowlers and things like that.

“If I was to fall into that category that would be brilliant.

“Getting looked after by such a superb medical team that I talked about before, they’ve been superb with us.

“They’ve looked after me tremendously well to be honest.

“It’s nice to have that support and of course with a central contract you fall into that category where you wouldn’t go back to a county and they wouldn’t run you into the ground, and they get to look after you.

“So I wouldn’t say I’m confident because I’ve not played for England for a long time, and throughout this year I probably haven’t deserved to get another one, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

“But in terms of Durham, I’m focusing on England at the moment and I’ll see what happens there come September.”

Jason Roy, meanwhile, has said that low sugar levels caused his dizzy spell in England’s win at Southampton.

The Surrey star hit a pivotal 65 as England drew first blood in the five-match series, recovering his poise after seeking medical attention for feeling light-headed.

The 26-year-old was left relieved to avoid any serious problem, but also admitting he will keep an eye on an issue raised by Wednesday’s scorching south coast heat.

“It was a case of not having enough sugar on me apparently, that’s it plain and simple,” said Roy.

“I had a headache, felt a bit dizzy, they got the physio and the doctor on, they told me to get some sugar on board.

“I’ll just remember in future on a hot day to be mindful of that.

“I was able to get my bearings, settle and re-set myself and just go again.”

England’s tour of Bangladesh this autumn will go ahead despite recent security concerns.

Militant group Islamic State said it carried out an attack in Dhaka last month that saw 20 hostages killed, including nine Italian citizens, and there are fears of further incidents targeting westerners.

Concerns over playing in the country spiked with July’s attack, which also saw two police officers killed.

England have two Tests and three one-day internationals planned, in Dhaka and Chittagong, between October 7 and November 1.

The ECB have assessed the situation, just as they did when faced with difficult situations on previous overseas trips.

Bangladesh limited-overs captain Mashrafe Mortaza made a personal call this week, asking England to bring their cricketers to a troubled country that values the sport as highly as any other on the circuit.