Mark Wood
Mark Wood (AFP Photo)

England pacer Mark Wood has been practicing bowling with an bigger run-up to reduce the stress he puts on his body. With the ICC World Cup less than 12 months away, Wood is hoping to remain injury-free and ensure he’s able to cement his spot in England ODI team.

And putting his body through less pressure everytime he comes on to bowl is key. His latest injury trouble surfaced in June when the 28-year-old was forced off the field while playing for Durham in County Championship. Now fully recovered and in Sri Lanka as he prepares for the five-match ODI series, his biggest aim is to maintain his fitness.

“It’s something I’ve worked on in the second half of the season in England and brought it here,” Wood told Talksport about his run-up. “It’s a trial, something I can go back to if I want to do the step-back run-up.

“I spoke to Kevin Shine, the head bowling coach, and Chris Silverwood, who’s out here, and said that off my short run-up I felt I was having to force it all the time. That meant I was putting more stress on than I needed to, having to ramp it up to get my top speed.

“So pushed my run-up back, so that it felt like I could cruise into it a little more and look for more rhythm, rather than trying to be at the top end all the time, and putting more stress on my body.”

The first ODI of the series is scheduled for Wednesday and in humid conditions, Wood feels for seamers, making use of the new ball will be the key.

“The pitch didn’t feel as subcontinental like as you might think. It’s subtropical here in Sri Lanka, not like India or the UAE. It’s more humid and a lot greener than you might expect. The one-day wickets have had a bit of tennis-ball bounce and have swung a bit for England for three or four overs, so we have to use that to our advantage,” he said.

He further added, “It is ridiculously hot, so coming from a seam bowling point of view, it’ll be two or three overs, smash it as hard as you can, then get off. The spinners are the ones who are going to attack here, but that new ball is key for us. If we can get wickets up front when it’s doing a bit, that’ll be brilliant, but if not, we’ll sit in, try to dot up and make it hard, then let the spinners attack from the other end.”