England to make late Mark Wood and Dawid Malan calls for T20 World Cup semi-final against India

Doubt: Mark Wood  (AFP via Getty Images)
Doubt: Mark Wood (AFP via Getty Images)

England are set to give Mark Wood and Dawid Malan every chance of featuring in Thursday’s T20 World Cup semi-final against India, with late calls to be made over the fitness of the pair.

Both remain significant doubts for the game in Adelaide, Malan after tweaking a groin in Saturday’s Super 12 victory over Sri Lanka and Wood after complaining of stiffness in training this week.

The pair took only small parts in training on Wednesday and a decision over whether either can play is set to be left as late as possible before tomorrow’s game, which starts at 8am UK time.

“We will see how they pull up," England captain Jos Buttler said. "We trust the medical team, we trust the two guys as well. We will give them as long as possible.

"You need guys to be fit to participate in the game. I think in all sports you have players that don't always play at 100 per cent but of course you have to be able to fulfil your role in the team.”

Should either or both fail to make it, England will be forced into changing their lineup for the first time in the tournament.

Phil Salt, the only specialist spare batter in England’s squad, is set to come in for Malan if the Yorkshire man is not fit, though not necessarily as a straight swap at No3, with Ben Stokes able to move up and England having been flexible with their lineup.

The experienced Chris Jordan would be expected to replace Wood, who has been the fastest bowler in the tournament so far and has taken nine wickets in an excellent campaign.

Jordan has already been involved in one way, taking three catches as a sub-fielder, and is England’s joint-leading wicket-taker in the format alongside Adil Rashid.

"We have some fantastic players who have not yet played in the tournament and they will be desperate to make their mark if given a chance,” Buttler added. “I have full faith in every member of our squad."

Dawid Malan is a big doubt. (AFP via Getty Images)
Dawid Malan is a big doubt. (AFP via Getty Images)

India, meanwhile, are yet to make a decision over whether Dinesh Karthik or Rishabh Pant will keep wicket in tomorrow’s crunch.

Karthik has been first-choice throughout the tournament but Pant, who has excelled against England in the past and would break up India’s lineup of right-handers, played in the final group game against Zimbabwe in a bid to ensure his readiness if called upon in the knockout stage.

"If we want to make changes for the semis or the finals, we should be able to do that, and it'd be unfair to just bring the guy from nowhere and make him play the game," India captain Rohit Sharma said.

"We've told the guys right from the beginning that everyone needs to be ready for whichever game they may have to play - whether it's semis, final, or league games.

"We wanted to give a left-hander an opportunity to counter some of the spinners who bowl in the middle [overs] for New Zealand and England. That was the thought [behind playing Pant].

"What is going to happen tomorrow? I wouldn't be able to tell you right now, but both of the keepers will be in play for sure."