England optimistic over Mark Wood to be ready for World Cup

England are hopeful of good news on Mark Wood’s fitness as they prepare for one final World Cup warm-up match that looks like more of a headache than a help.

England's Mark Wood celebrates taking the wicket of Australia's Aaron Finch at The Hampshire Bowl. Picture: Mark Kerton/PA.
England's Mark Wood celebrates taking the wicket of Australia's Aaron Finch at The Hampshire Bowl. Picture: Mark Kerton/PA.

Wood pulled up with pain in his left foot during Saturday’s defeat to Australia, withdrawing from the match and heading to hospital for scans.

Given the paceman’s longstanding injury problems, mostly attributed to his left ankle, alarm bells were immediately raised, but it is understood Wood’s condition felt much improved last night and there was cautious optimism in the England camp that specialists would clear him to proceed to the tournament.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

In light of the incident, and with several other players nursing ailments or discomforts of varying degrees, England would probably rather be regrouping ahead of Thursday’s curtain-raiser against South Africa than facing Afghanistan at the Oval.

Wood has no chance of playing, captain Eoin Morgan looks highly unlikely to do so as he nurses a minor fracture in his left index finger and Adil Rashid is back bowling in practice but may not be risked.

Liam Dawson is another who might sit out after suffering a gash in his right ring finger while fielding against Australia, and there is always a careful eye on Chris Woakes’s workload given his chronic knee condition.

Yorkshire’s Jonny Bairstow is one of those who can count on being involved but admitted the squad is ready for the real thing now.

Speaking at the Ruth Strauss Foundation Family Mile in Westminster, which the England squad took part in to honour the late wife of Andrew Strauss, Bairstow said: “We are ready to go. We want the World Cup to start as soon as possible. The guys are ready.

“(Warm-ups) are just part and parcel of the tournament, that is the scheduling. Hopefully we can just get through without any more injuries. You have just got to get as much out of it as you can.”

The 12-run loss to Australia ended an unbeaten start to the summer for the England side, taking in a one-day international against Ireland and six games versus Pakistan. The fact that the match did not carry competitive status means it does not go on the official win-loss record and Bairstow was happy to downplay its significance.

“It felt like a friendly,” he said.

“The intensity was obviously there but naturally there was a slight drop.

“We had people missing, they had people missing... you can’t look at it as a defeat with 12 playing and 11 batting.”