England released injury setback for Sri Lanka tour with fast bowler Mark Wood with a strain while Lancashire’s Saqib Mahmood comes in to replace him
- Mark Wood is from England’s upcoming tour through Sri Lanka with a side trunk
- The 30-year-old has consistently been sidelined in recent tests
- But an injury collected in Twenty20 means that he is not available for the trip to Galle
Mark Wood suffered another setback in his injury-stricken career on Friday when he was excluded from the two-test tour of England through Sri Lanka with a repeat of a side problem.
It is a cruel blow to England and an important bowler in Wood who showed that when he is fit, he remains one of the best and fastest in the world by taking 12 wickets in his two appearances in the 3-1 Test series victory over South Africa.
It was a serious side injury sustained during the World Cup Final, which kept Wood out of focus, England’s tour of New Zealand and the start of that South African series and it’s a concern that it’s a tear on the same left that has him again sidelined.
Mark Wood is excluded from England’s two-test tour through Sri Lanka with a tension injury
But England is adamantly this last blow, only confirmed after several scans in London, is a relatively small blow and his absence on a Sri Lankan tour that starts next week is more a precaution than a serious concern.
England even says that Wood is suitable for the second test in Colombo on March 27, but they have decided not to risk him and will instead tell him to continue his rehab at home prior to the late start of the international summer in June .
Wood clearly felt a problem in his side in the run-up to the final test against South Africa in Johannesburg, but, with Jofra Archer excluded with what was subsequently discovered as a broken elbow, the Durham man finally declared himself fit.
The fast bowler has been a consistent performer for England and his injury is a big loss
That decision was spectacularly justified when Wood took nine wickets in a player of the match-winning performance to follow his equally decisive impact with ball, bat and field in the third test in Port Elizabeth.
But it clearly took a toll, although Wood could still play in the subsequent Twenty20 series in South Africa, and a bowler recovered from three operations on a chronically injured left ankle is confronted with yet another spell on the sidelines.
Wood has only been able to play 15 tests since his debut in 2015 and England is well aware that they need to manage his workload as professionally as possible if he wants to be fit to have an impact on the next Ashes in 2021-22.
In the absence of Wood, there is another chance for Lancashire’s Saqib Mahmood, who travels to Sri Lanka with the rest of the English team on Monday for the first of two warm-up games on Saturday in Colombo.
Mahmood, 23, played in one day international and three international Twenty20 games, but has yet to appear in Test cricket.
Saqib Mahmood of Lancashire will instead travel to Sri Lanka as a replacement for Wood