Luke Wood prepares for England ODI debut despite three-year 50-over drought

luke wood England are set to make their ODI debut in the Netherlands but haven’t played a 50-over game in three years. Thus, his call-up to Matthew Mott’s first white-ball squad for the three-match series starting Friday, squeezed between the second and third New Zealand Tests, is a revealing moment.

Wood, a left-arm pacer, has been on England’s radar for some time – he is a former Under-19 international and was reserved for January’s T20I series in Barbados – but his involvement highlights the fact that That is the extent to which 50-over cricket has slipped down the list of priorities in English cricket since the 2019 World Cup.

“He has been consistent for Lancashire over the past 12 months and we are monitoring his progress,” Mott said when the squad was announced, but one obvious fact was evident from his absence: Wood never really Haven’t played even 50 overs. Lancashire.

Since his List A debut in 2016, Wood has played only three more games of professional 50-over cricket, most recently Nottinghamshire in May 2019, The depth of Notts’ bowling attack, and the resulting lack of first-team opportunities, was a major factor in Wood’s decision to move to Lancashire at the end of that season, and his contract with Trent Rockets in the Hundred meant he only raided. Worn everyday. First class and T20 cricket.

In the two full seasons since moving to Old Trafford, none of England’s best white-ball players have played a home 50-over game: the Royal London Cup was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic and in 2021 Had hit a hundred. Will do so again this summer and while the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) is pushing for a change next year, it will prove difficult to find a place in a schedule that is already at breaking point.

“I know I haven’t played a 50-over game in three years,” Wood told ESPNcricinfo. “With hundred and 50-over comps at the same time, not many people in the frame would have played 50-over cricket at the international level until recently. If you look at the schedule, it’s probably something that you can’t get over. Will see more, until something changes.”

And yet Wood isn’t unduly concerned with his inexperience as a 50-over bowler: “It’s similar to T20 in a sense. Your skills are pretty much the same, it’s just a longer period. I was away this winter.” [at the Abu Dhabi T10 and the PSL] And if you take into account the Hundred and the Blast, I’ve probably played more white-ball cricket in the last 12 months than before.

“I wouldn’t say it’s an issue. From an outsider’s point of view, you can look at me playing four matches and it might sound a bit confusing. But I think you have to take white-ball cricket entirely. Now only 50 overs cricket and not T20 cricket.

England have been forced to pick players along those lines, highlighting the special roles their side plays and the jobs they are best positioned to fill, mainly on the basis of T20 performances. wood – together Brydon Karse, The one who impressed in England’s ODI series against Pakistan last year – he has been identified as a potential attacking threat in the middle overs in the role of Liam Plunkett, despite the fact that he was a big hit with the new ball for Lancashire in the Blast. Bowling to scale.

While less than ideal, England have previously dealt with a home schedule that did not reflect international play: between 2010 and 2013, counties played a 40-over List A tournament instead of a 50-over one, a decision that was long overdue. There was time – like term benefits for young batsmen joss butler And Jason Roy who were still making their way into the game.

The shorter format forced that generation to play in a more aggressive style, which happened to reflect Eoin Morgan implemented after the 2015 World Cup. England white-ball analyst Nathan Lemon writes in his book hitting against spin With Ben Jones that it was “a happy accident” that shaped the development of “the finest collection of white-ball batsmen England has ever produced”.

But the opposite is now clearly evident and while there are transferable skills in many roles – openers, finishers and new-ball bowlers, for example – the ECB is keen to create opportunities for talented players to play 50-over games. : The Lions play two one-day fixtures against South Africa next month and are due to tour this winter, while the return of an annual North vs South series will be discussed as part of Andrew Strauss’s High Performance Review.

England’s performance director Mo Bobat believes Lions squads are the toughest of any selection and next month’s selection will see short-term needs balanced with longer-term ambitions: some of the best young white-ball players in the country such as Will Smed And Tom Lamonby Will remain uncapped in List A cricket and will be considered for South Africa’s fixtures.

In the short term, a tour of the Netherlands is likely to see David Malana 3 and full-strength makes his case for Root being the back-up in the team, while Butler is set to move up the order – most likely at No 4 – as England most Looks to get more out of the world in-form white ball batsman.

There will also be opportunities for fringe seamers including Cars, Wood. Rees Topley And David Payne In the absence of many first-choice players due to injuries affecting the new hierarchy, Mott highlighted death bowling as a “really important focus” for the series.

For Wood, the goal this week is straightforward: “I just want to try and show everyone what I’m about,” he says. “Hopefully I can make my ODI debut and do well.” If he does, he could be the first England player in the modern era with no List A track record to talk about; It doesn’t look like that will be the last.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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