Mark Wood’s IPL experience with Chennai Super Kings has helped him make his choices – but where will he go next?

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Mark Wood (ECB)

You may remember that earlier in the year, we wrote about the weighted, weighty decisions faced by Mark Wood this season.

Wood’s long format career has been in the balance of late. An IPL contract seemed likely to keep him out of all early season first-class cricket and a consequence of that would have been reduced likelihood of playing any Test matches.

Fortunately, he bowled a load of toss in India and on such small things do career paths hinge.

Mark Wood’s performance for Chennai Super Kings

Wood took 0-49 from four overs in the opening match of this season’s IPL. He was the most expensive bowler on either side. He hasn’t been asked to play again.

At some point since then, Wood approached the team bosses and said something like: “Um. If you don’t really need me, could I maybe go home and play cricket?”

The Chennai Super Kings people said yes.

So what happens next?

In the short-term, Wood will attempt to secure a Test spot by playing precisely one first-class match for Durham ahead of the Pakistan series.

Technically, he is “the man in possession” having played England’s most recent five-day match, only it never really seems to work like that for bowlers.

Also, he didn’t make an unarguable case in his most recent Test outing and there’s also a case for saying that England would be better off trying to identify a short-pitched specialist as the third seamer.

Whether he plays the Pakistan Tests or not, that single County Championship match is the only one Wood is likely to be available to play until England’s short format commitments come to a close on July 17. Durham then have just one more Championship match in which he’ll be able to showcase his red ball competence before the India Test series starts. He’ll probably be rested for it.

What happens longer term?

That’s the bulk of Wood’s season. That’s his opportunity to “nail down a Test spot”.

Should he fail to achieve that aim – which, given the circumstances, seems entirely possible – he could instead train his hammer on the shortest format and try and nail down an IPL spot.

A man who prepared for this Test summer by playing the IPL and who prepared for the IPL by playing a one-off Test match might at some point conclude that he’ll get better results if he narrows his focus.


Being a professional cricketer can really get in the way of being a professional cricketer these days.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


  1. England picking anyone other than Anderson and Broad might have reached an all time low.

    Wood – not playing T20 cricket
    Woakes – largely not playing T20 cricket
    Ali – not playing T20 cricket
    Curran – not playing T20 cricket
    Leach – has bowled in one innings so far this season
    Stokes – largely bowling toss in T20 cricket
    Rashid – unknown

    It’s quite hard to get round picking Ball and Coverton in the squad, there isnt even anyone uncapped that is smashing the door down. Even the more likely ones like Porter and Coad are hardly that much different.

  2. But is the imaginary horse still in India, in quarantine*, or roaming free in the North East? I think we should be told.

    *I’m assuming that imaginary animals are not covered by the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), unless the imaginary horse has an imaginary pet passport.

    1. Obviously the BCCI included Kohli in the team against Ireland T20s only for marketing purposes

  3. Did you see Tim Paine and the return of the line?
    CA are working over time to not chnage in any way.

    1. Yes, he says it’s a fine line doesn’t he? Can’t help but feel it would make life easier if they just broadened it.

      1. Also welcoming the return of another old friend, the ‘Brand of Cricket’.

        The only branding that Australia should be doing right now is on the foreheads of Mssrs Bancroft, Smith and the other one.

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