England fast bowler Mark Wood has said he could yet become a white-ball specialist even though Test captain Joe Root believes the Durham quick could feature during his side’s bid to regain the Ashes in Australia in 2021/22.
The 30-year-old Wood has played just 16 Tests since his debut five years ago, with his subsequent career blighted by three ankle operations.
That last bout of surgery even led Wood to experience a panic attack and contemplate whether he would be better off concentrating on lucrative shorter formats such as Twenty20, rather than continue to subject his body to the rigours of Test cricket.
Wood, speaking to his friend Steve Harmison — himself a former Durham and England fast bowler — on TalkSport 2 radio, said: “I was actually close a couple of times to saying: ‘I’ve had enough’. Just because I didn’t think I could cope with it with my body.
“I ended up having some pretty bad mental health stuff with anxiety. I had a panic attack on a flight. I was sick of the rehab. I thought I’d never reach the potential I thought I had. I was generally just sick of not being the player I wanted to be.”
He added: “I did contemplate going down the white-ball route. It’s less stress on my body — four or 10 overs — and I can still make money for my family. That could be a possibility even in the future I might have to go down. I don’t know.”
Only Jofra Archer among England’s current crop of quicks is able to match Wood for consistent 90 mph speed.
Wood took 12 wickets in two Tests early in 2020 as England completed a 3-1 series win in South Africa.
But the World Cup winner was not awarded a Test match central contract in the latest round of England deals announced last month, having spent much of this year’s coronavirus-hit home season kicking his heels behind James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Archer in red-ball cricket.
Yet only last week Root, speaking to the Analyst Inside Cricket Club, name-checked both Wood and Archer as being key figures in England’s bid to regain the Ashes.