England pacer Mark Wood, who featured in only one Test during England’s home summer, has admitted that he has, at times, been left frustrated by the non-selections but has insisted that he will keep working hard. Wood has also further claimed that he will try his best to ‘stop Australia winning’.
Mark Wood’s inclusion in England’s starting XI for the first Test of the home summer versus the Windies, at the expense of Stuart Broad, was seen as a paradigm shift in English cricket, as the selection hinted towards the board finally moving away from the old guard. But that turned out to be a false klaxon as Broad and Anderson featured together in four of the next six Tests, at the expense of Wood, who, unfortunately, warmed the bench for no less than five Tests.
Wood’s non-selection has been chastised publicly by several experts, some of who have even termed the summer as a ‘step backwards’, and reflecting on a disappointing couple of months, the 30-year-old, himself, has admitted that he has, at times, been left frustrated knowing that he is the player who ‘easily gets dropped’.
"Of course it's frustrating; you don't want to be the guy that's easily dropped all the time. But there's nothing more you can do. You've just gotta keep working hard. I'm trying to work on a wobble seam with a red ball, that's something that hasn't come naturally to me, but I'm trying to improve there,” Wood was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
"I asked the question after the last game, what did I need to improve on to get in the team, and they just said they were happy with my training ethic, and how I was around the team. It was just a 50-50 call, and they went the other way without me.
"Going in, I hoped I'd play more after the winter, but it wasn't to be," Wood added. "The lads that played did well and it was hard for me to force myself in. So I just tried to be as good a team man as I could be, not moaning and groaning and giving as much energy back to the team as I could from the sidelines."
Wood’s non-selection is generally supported by the claim that he has a dismal record at home - average of 44.91 - but the tearaway insisted that the only way he could improve those numbers is if he plays more Tests on home soil. Prior to playing in the first Test of the summer, Wood’s last appearance at home came back in 2018 against Pakistan, against who he just played a solitary Test.
"That's something that is obviously on record," Wood said of how bowling average at home, "but I'm not going to get that better if I only play away and don't play at home.
"I don't think I played that badly in the first game. I bowled alright, to average 89mph across 20-odd overs was pretty pleasing from my point of view, having not played for so long, but it's just been one of the summers where, if I want to get better in England, I'm going to have to add things like a wobble seam, which is something I'm working on to try and get better."
On the bright side of things, however, the 30-year-old has been named in England’s limited-over squads for the bilateral series against Australia and the right-arm quick asserted that he will do everything he can to stop Australia winning. Wood, who admitted to being intimidated by Australia’s six-hitting in the intra-squad warm-up match on Wednesday, also claimed that he will be out there to prove a point to the selectors.
"When we turned up [at the Ageas Bowl] yesterday, they [Australia] were smashing the ball everywhere. I don't know if they were just doing it deliberately to try and scare us, but I'll be out to try and stop that as much as I can and stop Australia winning.
"I'm under a little bit of pressure here to prove that I deserve to be in the side because we've got a lot of depth and a lot of good bowlers. If I get the chance I'll be trying to prove that I've got the skills."
Australia's white-ball tour of England will kick off with the T20Is at the Ageas Bowl, starting September 4.