Mark Wood hopes he and fellow paceman Jofra Archer can “ruffle a few feathers” together as England prepare to field one of the quickest new ball pairings in their one-day history.
Wood will make his first competitive appearance in more than two months in today’s fourth one-day international against Pakistan, finally deemed ready for action after familiar concerns over his left ankle.
The 29-year-old has been kept on the shelf since a transformational tour of the West Indies, during which he hit fierce speeds touching 95mph. Archer has arrived on the scene in the intervening weeks and has worked up his own head of steam, nudging 94mph during his first three caps, and the sight of the pair working in tandem is a tantalising one.
It will become a reality at Trent Bridge, with both men in an XI missing banned captain Eoin Morgan and rested trio Jonny Bairstow, Liam Plunkett and Chris Woakes.
“It’ll be good to have two pace lads in at the same time and to see if we can really ruffle a few feathers,” said Wood.
“For any team two fast bowlers tends to be rare, so it will be good to play in the same team. It will be nice to bounce off him, see what plans he has. It will be nice to see how he works and hopefully watch him from fine-leg bowling rockets.
“He has natural raw pace whereas I feel I have to bust a gut to get it up there.
“It’s just so natural and that’s exciting for English cricket.
“He’s definitely right up there among the best in the world for pace, so it will be interesting to bowl alongside him.
“It will be interesting to see how far back the wicketkeeper stands for him and me.”
Wood appeared relaxed about his fitness, insisting his elongated lay-off owed more to caution from the management and inclement weather than a genuinely worrying injury.
He has taken to bowling double spells in the nets, 12 overs rather than his usual six, but is eager to test himself back in the middle. “It’s been a long time and every time I’ve tried to get a match in it’s rained,” he said.
“It would’ve been nice to play for Durham (before England), and that was the plan to just get back in the swing of things. The cards have fallen a different way and that’s the way it is.
“Trevor Bayliss [head coach] said that he wanted me ready for the World Cup not for Durham, and there was no point in rushing it straightaway, which was a nice feeling actually.
“But you never take for granted playing for England so I’ll be giving it my best shot. I’m doing plenty of running, plenty in the gym, just general ticking over the body to make sure I’m ready to go.”
Jos Buttler will lead the team in Morgan’s absence, which came about as a result of overseeing slow over-rates, and Wood has warned the stand-in not to fall foul of the same regulation.
“The only difference is rather than the captain coming up to you from extra cover the wicketkeeper will be running all the way down the wicket and back, so we’ll have to watch that over-rate again,” he said.
“Obviously Eoin is a big loss because he’s our captain, our leader, but I’m sure Jos can do just as well.”