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Saturday May 18, 2024

England's Wood effectively out of first Test, expected to play second

By Abdul Mohi Shah
November 29, 2022

ISLAMABAD: England pacer Mark Wood has been ruled out of the Pindi Test starting from December 1 with English team’s head coach Brendon McCullum expressing the hope to get him fit and ready for the second Test of the three-match series against Pakistan.

Wood is yet to recover from the hip injury he received during the T20 World Cup. The injury forced him to miss the semi-final and final of the event that England ultimately won.

“Wood has been ruled out of the first Test with the injury he sustained during the World Cup. We hope to get Wood fit and ready for the second Test. Rest of the team members are fine and available for the selection for the playing XI,” England team head coach McCullum said during media talk at the Pindi Stadium Monday.

The team head coach was excited to see Pindi Stadium track prepared for the opening Test but was uncertain whether it would stay that way early Thursday morning. “We have seen the pitch today and it looked good. But you never know what would be its shape ahead of the start of the first Test.”

England’s head coach did not look keen to carry on his team’s conventional attacking cricket going into the series. “Wherever we get an opportunity to continue our traditional style of cricket we do that as boys are used to playing such cricket. But it all depends on what the situation at the given time is. It all depends on the demands of that particular day.”

McCullum praised the available talent in the Pakistan squad when questioned on the absence of Shaheen Shah Afridi from the series. “I played the PSL with Shaheen for many years. He is a brilliant pacer and surely Pakistan would miss him. Yet, Pakistan team is full of talented cricketers-though not groomed to a full potential. The team is still very good, full of experience and exuberance. The flare of Pakistan bowlers would be a tough proposition for us to handle. But we are ready for the occasion. We have a good competitive series at our hands.”

The touring team head coach promised exciting and positive cricket. “We are here to entertain people and give our best considering the requirements of the conditions. Test cricket surely is losing its charm but our effort would be to take along the fans and give the best value of their stay at the Stadium.”

He had special sympathy for the young Pakistan generation who missed international cricket for years. “The whole generation has grown up without watching the best of talent the country has produced in recent times. Now we are here to play the best cricket for their entertainment. We would love to play in front of a full house at the Pindi Stadium. There has been a packed crowd in England recently. Hopefully things will be the same in Pakistan.”

McCullum was not ready to predict how huge the target should be to win Test matches here. “It all depends on the playing tracks and batting-line ability to adapt to the conditions at the earliest.” The England team head coach hoped to end up winning the series.

“It is never easy to play in conditions you are not used to but this is what competitive cricket is all about. You have to perform in such a condition to surprise your opponents and I think my boys are ready for that.”