However, it was a decisive selection, as Wood touched speeds closer to 97mph/156kph in a performance that impressed Pakistan’s own fast bowling royalty, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis in the commentary box. His figures of 3 for 24 included the crucial opening scalp of Babar on Thursday’s century, which was hurried by a wild bouncer in Wood’s first over to Reece Topley for 8 off his fourth ball in the third.
“After seven months, you get a little fresh,” Wood later told Sky Sports. “It’s been a long time, and I felt very tired at the end. I know it’s only a T20, but that’s the intensity of international cricket. But I’ll rest and hopefully be good again in the future. . The challenge now is obviously to back it up. Can I continue those motions?”
Wood admitted that the revived atmosphere within the National Stadium was a big factor in his performance, as he charged at the crease with a real opportunity. Haider Ali was dismissed on the first ball of his second over to bundle out Pakistan for 21 for 3, and when Haris Rauf flicked another short delivery to cover at death, he proved the local adage That “Pace is Pace Dude” remains. a timeless one.
“It was loud,” he said. “They are knowledgeable about their cricket here and very helpful. I don’t know if the enthusiasm was there for me or Babar or Rizwan, but they played the last game really well, so it’s time to try and get them in the door early.” Had a big wicket. Toppers [Topley] I bowled a great over before I came, and that gave me a chance to try and attack a little bit more with my bowling.
“I have a lot of work to do,” he said. “Today was a good day, but you know what it’s like when you haven’t played for a while, the adrenaline flight, it’s like you’re making your start again. The crowd was flying by. So the challenge for me Is the next one, can I repeat that?”
When Wood will repeat it remains to be seen. With England’s next match drawing to a close on Sunday, it looks like he will sit that one out and continue his return to Lahore next week, given that the key date in his diary is 22 October, England’s World Cup against Afghanistan. Cup campaign begins. In Perth, where his raw speed will certainly be a key asset in the attack.
“My body feels fine,” he said. “I’ll probably be on an ice machine now. Tomorrow we’ll have a down day with nothing much to do, and then get ready for the next game. I don’t know what the selection will be for the next game, or after that.” What’s important to me is that I don’t want to go too hard right now and then I’m not ready for Australia. I have to peak at the right time, and then when it comes to the World Cup, I’m fit and firing. Am.
“I’m just a little tired,” Wood said. “It’s my first game in a while, but I really enjoyed leading it. I’ve spent a lot of time in the gym, running a lot, but nothing quite like playing a sport. So it was just a different intensity.” But I’m fine.”
It’s a much changed team that Wood has moved back into, with Eoin Morgan retiring, and many familiar teammates missing for a variety of reasons, not least his fellow World Cup winners, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow. But, as England stand-in captain Moeen Ali said during presentations, Wood remains a highly valued member of the team for both his on-field influence and his presence in the dressing room.
And, judging by the stellar performances from Harry Brooke and Ben Duckett on Friday, Wood was able to cast a vote of confidence within that dressing room, especially in the wake of such a crushing defeat on Thursday.
“I think it’s fantastic,” he said. “To be able to go into a dressing room, feel that freedom, speak your mind, it says a lot about the group and the culture of the group.
“The other night, instead of being critical, we looked at what we thought we could do better. We said ‘played well’ to those two guys, but I think we realized that maybe we could have bowled a few more short balls. Were, or went around the wicket with the left-handers. Just little things we could have done differently. It’s simple, but that was the chat.”
Andrew Miller is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket