Not just horsing around for Wood

p32562Sport-8-1

Published: Wednesday 1st April 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Durham paceman Mark Wood hopes he can be a breath of fresh air for England on and off the field following their winter of discontent.

Wood, a short and skiddy bowler with an ability to get the old ball to reverse swing, was given his first senior call-up for the upcoming Test series in the West Indies after impressing with the Lions against South Africa’s A side over the winter.

His promotion has come despite playing just 23 first-class matches, largely due to a troublesome time with injuries that saw him miss large chunks of last season.

But having been given the nod, Wood is keen to make his mark in the Caribbean with an England side still reeling from their feeble group-stage exit in the World Cup.

He told Press Association Sport: “I’m not going over there to make up the numbers. I definitely want to try and play a Test match and make my debut, I’d love for that to happen.

“So I’m going to give it my shot in the nets, and hopefully I can impress a few people there and get a go.

“Hopefully I bring something different to the table and they can see something in me like they have done so far and I can get a game.

“It’s obviously been a frustrating couple of months for England recently and as a fan, I’ve been frustrated as well, so it’ll be nice if we can get back to winning ways on the field and have that good camaraderie and atmosphere off it.”

The personable 25-year-old last week in an interview with the Guardian revealed, in times of boredom while fielding, he has an imaginary horse and pretends to joust with his Durham team-mates in an effort to raise spirits.

The humorous admission may raise an eye or two at Lord’s, but Wood does not have any apprehension at trying the tactic should he get the chance to play for England.

He said: “I’ll just go for it. I think the lads will cotton on pretty quickly that I like to have a bit of a laugh and a bit of a joke.

“Sometimes it’s just the pick-me-up the lads need. The horse will probably come with me to the Caribbean if he gets through immigration, but we’ll just wait and see.

“If they don’t like it then I can always just tie him up and leave him somewhere, I guess, for a few days.”

Wood did concede there will be some butterflies the first time he meets up with the squad, despite having Durham team-mate Ben Stokes for company, while he also got to know experienced seamers James Anderson and Stuart Broad during an England Performance Programme fast bowling camp in South Africa before Christmas.

He said: “I’m excited, first and foremost, and then a little bit nervous because I’m going into a dressing room which is very successful and full of big players with great records.

“But I’m sure if I’m just myself I’m sure I’ll get on with the lads great. I know a couple of them in there already.”

Wood added he “would be stupid not to” pick the brains of Anderson or Broad, and another familiar face in former Durham seamer and England’s new temporary bowling coach Ottis Gibson is a welcome sight.

While Gibson and Wood’s paths only crossed briefly at Chester-le-Street, the two know each other well.

Wood said: ” I’ve worked with Ottis before and he’s a great bloke. Hopefully he can show me round the Caribbean and places to go rather than stuck in playing on FIFA.

“His last season (at Durham) was my first year in the academy, so I knew him and spoke to him a little bit. He’s kept in touch with a few of the lads so he’s always been around and I’ve always spoken to him.

“Having Ottis there will be great, I think he gets on with everyone and he knows his stuff.”

England begin their three-Test series in Antigua on April 13 and Wood, having overcome the surprise of his inclusion, is now raring to go.

He added: “I was obviously delighted to get the call-up and first of all it was a bit of a shock and then I thought ‘Jesus, I’m going to play for England’.

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind but I can’t wait to get over there now and show them what I can do.”

Published: Wednesday 1st April 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Local business search