England to Pakistan 2022-23 – Mark Wood in doubt for first Test after World Cup hip injury

England to Pakistan 2022-23 – Mark Wood in doubt for first Test after World Cup hip injury

England fast bowler Mark Wood is doubtful for the first Test against Pakistan.

Wood has been in the UK recovering from a hip injury sustained during England’s successful T20 World Cup campaign and will join the Test squad in Rawalpindi this weekend. Although injury ruled the 32-year-old out of the semi-final against India, he was considered fit to play in the final against Pakistan before it was decided to take a risk with one-game selection also publicized.

His rehabilitation is said to be going well. However, with just three days of practice before the series begins on December 1, it seems unlikely that he will be able to rack up the necessary number of overs at a high enough intensity to prepare for the rigors of a Test match.

Wood returned to international duty in Pakistan during the T20Is after missing the summer of 2022 and showed how crucial his pace was as a point of difference, with six wickets at 7.33 in his two appearances in the seven-game series matches. He carried that form to the World Cup, with nine wickets at 12:00 in four games, making the fastest spells and even coming away with the tournament’s fastest delivery – a full delivery at 154.74 km/h New Zealander Glenn Phillips.

Wood’s absence from this winter’s Abu Dhabi stop, where the team are warming up alongside the England Lions ahead of their first round of tests in Pakistan for 17 years, is unrelated to his wound. He and Yorkshire striker Harry Brook were given two weeks at home after the World Cup to rest as they were the only two players in the first three teams (Pakistan T20Is, World Cup, Pakistan Tests) before the end of the year.

Speaking on Friday after the final day of England’s warm-up match, which was swapped for a two-hour training session, England captain Ben Stokes was optimistic about Wood’s fitness and said that there would be no cover in the team.

“No, we’re sticking to it,” Stokes said. “We are not going to call another designer in this group.

“We made the decision to let Brooky and Woody spend this time at home, obviously in Pakistan and at the World Cup,” Stokes said. “We thought a week at home for them would be more beneficial, just to recharge their batteries, and obviously with Woody’s injury, coming home and being with his wife and child would be better than being here and to do all of his rehabilitation, which he could do at home.

“We let them go home. I haven’t had much contact with them, just to let them relax and unwind. From all reports Woody is doing well and we’ll see how he is when it will come out here.”

An addition to the initial group of 15 was Rehan Ahmed. The versatile leg-spinning player was part of the Lions and was officially called up to the main team on Wednesday. Cricket manager Rob Key revealed on Thursday that had always been the intention.

It was a huge show of confidence in an 18-year-old with just three top-class appearances to his name, but those at the ECB, particularly performance manager Mo Bobat, are confident he’s ready for this. elevation.

Stokes obviously feels the same way. When asked if he would have any qualms about selecting Ahmed in an XI this winter, he answered unequivocally: “No, absolutely not. that experience and involve it.” If something came down to that and we felt like picking it, then we definitely would.

“He’s obviously not the finished article yet, but we think with someone like that – the way he plays, the way he hits – bringing him into that environment will do him the most good. Being with all the senior players and getting to work with the best coaches in the world, in my opinion, will only do him good.

“I don’t think it should be seen as a huge pressure on his shoulders. I think it should be seen as a great opportunity for a young boy to come in and be in that environment and be able to work on his skills. And then hopefully who knows where the next two or three years will take him. We just wanted to bring him in and make him comfortable on the pitch.

Stokes himself has stepped up since the World Cup. He took no part in the first two days of the match between the Test team and the England Lions, instead opting for the net and bowl down the middle during the intervals.

“I watched this game here in particular and honestly thought I would get the most out of these three days of practice,” Stokes said. “Returning to my bowling workload after taking a break after the World Cup in particular. I like to work on my skills in the net rather than being out there in the middle. I’ve really benefited from those three days, definitely, and Just because I missed this game doesn’t mean I didn’t feel like I missed a round or was unprepared We still have three days in Pakistan to prepare on the first test.

Liam Livingstone suffered ankle pain this week. But after going through eight bowling overs in the field on Thursday, plus a few more in the middle during the breaks, Stokes was happy to report healthy.

“There’s no injury in the squad which is great – first time in a while so that’s good. We had a few guys on the Test tour here with the Lions a few weeks before we met It’s all about peaking at the right time and the message at the start of camp was to build up around two days before this test, and there’s still something left in the tank to start with, because you don’t want to exhausting now and almost being ready a week too soon.”

Vithushan Ehantharajah is Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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