Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Winter of Hard Work and Small Change or Two Can Make Big Difference in 2017; THE INTERVIEW: Mark Wood Durham and England Fast Bowler Mark Wood Has Tweaked His Bowling Action to Try to Cut out the Ankle Problems Which Held Him Back This Year. Stuart Rayner Reports

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Winter of Hard Work and Small Change or Two Can Make Big Difference in 2017; THE INTERVIEW: Mark Wood Durham and England Fast Bowler Mark Wood Has Tweaked His Bowling Action to Try to Cut out the Ankle Problems Which Held Him Back This Year. Stuart Rayner Reports

Article excerpt

MARK Wood is confident the work he has done on his ankle this winter can make 2017 a much more successful year than 2016 was.

In 2015 the Ashington-born Durham fast bowler burst onto the international scene with his exciting performances in all three formats of the game.

But he did not play Test cricket in 2016, and has only featured in four one-day internationals since returning from England's tour of the United Arab Emirates last winter.

The problem was a long-standing ankle complaint which has required three operations since then. Wood's short run-up and explosive action put huge stress on his left ankle, and while the Test team have been in India, he has been working hard to reduce the impact on the joint.

"The ankle is not feeling too bad," he told the latest edition of The Cricket Paper.

"After the disappointment of the third operation, I've done some work with Kevin Shine, the England fast bowling coach, and some gym work, to tweak my action into a better position, in order to put less stress on my ankle.

"It's not a drastic change but little modifications to help me in the long term."

What is so frustrating about the 26-year-old's injuries is he is one of the most exciting fast bowlers in world cricket.

If the Three Lions cannot get to the bottom of his problems he risks following the same career path as Simon Jones, a brilliant bowler, but one who was only able to win 18 Test caps, the last of them in the penultimate game of the 2005 Ashes series. Wood's display for Durham at Twenty20 finals day in Edgbaston in August was an outstanding piece of bowling.

He had Joe Root regularly playing and missing as the ball zoomed past his bat in the semi-final against Yorkshire. Although Root somehow avoided being one of them, all of Wood's four victims were England internationals.

Wood started the 2016 pre-season hoping surgery had put his ankle problems behind him, but worried they had not. England insisted on only operating on the back of the joint, rather than dealing with the more minor discomfort at the front. …

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