By Tom Harle
Mark Wood is going nowhere fast and warded off talk of a white ball-only future with intent to spearhead England’s pace attack in next year’s Ashes.
The 30-year-old speed merchant sparked talk of a curtailed Test career by admitting he’d considered canning red-ball cricket after his third operation and may do so again.
But Wood, whose extreme pace alongside Jofra Archer could hold the key to regaining the urn in the winter of 2021, insists he's in the Test game to stay.
“I’m not stepping away from Test cricket yet,” clarified the Durham star, speaking at the launch of the £1million #Funds4Runs investment fund from ECB and LV= General Insurance which will support areas of recreational cricket most impacted by COVID-19.
“I’d love to be a part of the Ashes down under, every English cricketer grows up dreaming of winning that series.
“I was talking more about having been through the operations and in 2016, I considered whether my body would cope with it.
“I’ve changed my run-up, my body has coped a little bit better and hopefully I can continue in that sort of manner.
“In the future, you never know how my body will cope with the rigours. At the minute it’s going well, but when I’m a little bit older I might have to consider just playing white ball.”
Wood’s injury travails mean he’s played only 16 Tests since his debut in 2016, and it’s been another turbulent year for the Geordie in the longest form of the game.
It began in stunning style in South Africa as he took nine wickets to help England win the fourth Test, fuelling hope he can make an impact on similarly fast surfaces in Australia.
But after being preferred to Stuart Broad for the first Test of the delayed summer against West Indies, Wood would see no further action in the Test season.
That opening stanza in Southampton - that England lost - was the only time Chris Silverwood plumped for Wood and Archer in the same Test line-up, an experiment quickly shelved.
The pacey pair dovetail handsomely for Eoin Morgan in one-day cricket, most famously in the 2019 World Cup triumph but also devastating t20 spells against Australia in September.
Wood maintains they can bowl in tandem in English conditions but he’s prepared to settle for a situation in which he is rotated in and out of the team alongside Archer.
“We played the first Test, so they tried it out there,” said Wood.
“The balance of the side is vital and we can play together, we proved it in the World Cup.
“But the balance is really important and if it means one of us has to be rested and we rotate in and out, then so be it.
“We've got so many good bowlers and so much depth in our line-up, you're just pleased to get the nod.
“Jofra’s phenomenal, he’s absolutely world-class. Whether it's me or Jofra, or everyone else, we understand if we sit out a game because we've got such a good team.”
#Funds4Runs is a £1million investment pot jointly funded by ECB and LV= General Insurance which will help support grassroots cricket communities most impacted by COVID-19. Register your interest to apply at ecb.co.uk/funds4runs or lv.com/gi/cricket