Test cricket is what Mark Wood wants to play – but even if he’s keen enough and fit enough, modern cricket won’t allow him to do so

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Mark Wood (BT Sport)

If you haven’t already seen it, our latest piece for Wisden is about Mark Wood and the weighted, weighty decisions faced by current England cricketers.

The crux of it is this: if Mark Wood doesn’t (a) fluke his way into the Test side for the two Tests against New Zealand and (b) perform well in them, then his long format career is probably over before it’s really begun.

Responses to the piece on Twitter centred on how Wood had struggled to prove his fitness for four- and five-day cricket, so a limited overs career probably makes a lot of sense.

That is absolutely 100 per cent not the point we are making.


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  1. I make you right, but don’t count against Wood being the one parchuted in/clamoured for every time England are humbled away from home (ie at least once a year).

    I could quite easily see him never playing a Test again, but still held up as “the answer” along with Jos Buttler after we are smashed 4-1 in the 2025/26 Ashes.

    1. We can already hear the counter-argument: “Ridiculous. He’s not even a first-class regular for Durham.”

      That point’s always presented as some sort of measure of ability, rather than the inevitable impact of the player in question turning out for England whenever there are first-class matches.

  2. In other news, fans of King Cricket match reports might be pleased to see that I have adopted the KC “gonzo-style, don’t mention the actual sport itself” literary style for a tennis report:


    Daisy did admittedly break the golden rules with her photo/video journalism though.

    The KC writing style seems to have gone down surprisingly well with the dedanists/Dedanists, if the feedback so far is anything to go by…

    …no law suits, yet.

  3. Ok, one important, albeit tangential question – Didn’t they have a surfeit of Ashes so as to sync the calendar to avoid playing the Ashes in a World Cup year? Now, as I learn, they’re going to be playing both in the same month!?

      1. I can fix this. If they have a series in 2019, then 2019/20, then 2021, 21/22 and 2022, it will sort everything.

  4. Root could take a leaf out of Kohli’s book. Bumrah hadn’t played a first class game in years and years (sounds better than looking up the actual numbers). Then he plays three tests on the trot.

    It’s not the game that’s doing this to us. It’s the players. Or the selectors. Or something.

    1. Well, it’s both. It’s certainly possible to select players who aren’t playing regular first-class cricket, but anyone in a position to make such a decision will be wary of criticism should the player underperform – particularly if lack of fitness appears to have played a part.

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