Mark Wood is ready for the challenge of bowling at ‘intimidating’ Trent Bridge, as he prepares to make his return to the England side.
The fast bowler has enjoyed previous success in Nottingham, particularly in red-ball cricket, after returning figures of 5-78 against Nottinghamshire in 2012 and being amongst the wickets as England regained the Ashes at Trent Bridge in 2015.
In more recent times, the ground has consolidated a reputation as something of a bowler’s graveyard, with England breaking the world ODI batting record twice inside two years.
But Wood feels it is possible to be a success with ball in hand at the ground.
“It can be an intimidating place to bowl, so it’s a nice game to make your return in!” joked Wood.
“There’s a fast outfield here, there’s a short corner on one side of the ground [in front of the Smith Cooper Stand] and it’s a true wicket, so your slower balls don’t seem to grip as much here.
“You can have good plans for bowling here, but you’ve got to be so 'on it' with your execution or the ball’s going to fly everywhere.
“We’ve got our plans for each individual batsman, so if we can stick to those, I’m sure we can do well.”
England’s world record scores at Trent Bridge are indicative of a shift towards bigger totals in 50-over games – one which the home side have been leading the way on.
But Wood feels the haste for rapid runs can play into the hands of the bowling unit.
“The England team have set the standard with the bat – 400 is becoming an almost normal total now, and I truly believe that 500 is gettable one day.
“With such high scoring, you go into a game as a bowler thinking wickets are the key.
“If you can get a couple close together, you can really put the pressure on the opposition and slow the scoring rate down.
“Having the likes of Jofra [Archer] and Adil [Rashid] in the side helps us to take the aggressive option – they’re real wicket-takers, so that’s a real plus for our side.”
Wood’s last game was for England in the West Indies, as he completed a strong winter with the ball by taking 3-9 in a T20 international in St Kitts.
The right-arm quick was due to feature in the Royal London One-Day Cup for Durham, and was named in the side for two games, including the clash with Notts in Grantham.
Both games were rained off, however, leaving the 29-year-old with an unexpected two-month hiatus from competitive cricket.
“I’m really looking forward to the game, and I’m ready to go,” said Wood.
“The England backroom staff have been great in terms of looking after me in the last couple of months, but you can’t make much of an impact when you’re sat in the dressing room, so I’m itching to get out in the middle.”
Competition for places in the national side has become more intense since Wood’s last appearance, with Jofra Archer making a notable impact in his first appearances for England.
And while Wood has been looking on in admiration at the 24-year-old’s explosive pace, he remains confident that his own ability is enough to keep him in the XI for the World Cup.
“He’s so natural with the way he runs in and lets fly – he seems to bowl fast really easily," added the Durham paceman.
“It’s going to be exciting when I get to have a go at the other end. I’m sure we’ll be able to ruffle some feathers together – even though Jofra will probably make it look like I’m bowling at about 70mph!
“In a way we’re in competition for a spot, but ultimately I’ve got to look after my own position.
“If I can carry some of my form from the West Indies into this game then I’ll be in a good place.”
Wood and Archer’s likely inclusions will be just two of the changes made by England, with Jonny Bairstow, Liam Plunkett and Chris Woakes all set to be rested, and Eoin Morgan banned for a slow over rate in Tuesday’s win in Bristol.
Jos Buttler is set to assume captaincy responsibilities in Morgan’s place.
“It’ll be a big loss not having Eoin in the side, because he is our captain and our leader, but Jos has a wealth of experience as well.
“It’s great to have him on hand to stand in, and I’m sure he can do just as well.”
The last few seats are available for Australia v Bangladesh at Trent Bridge on Thursday 20th June, priced from £20 for adults and £6 for juniors. Tickets can be purchased from the official ICC Cricket World Cup Ticketing Site.