Mark Wood fitness massively important to England with Ashes coming up, says Chris Silverwood

Mark Wood fitness massively important to England with Ashes coming up, says Chris Silverwood

England head coach Chris Silverwood has stressed the importance of preserving Mark Wood’s fitness ahead of this winter’s Ashes series.

The fast bowler injured his right shoulder during the second Test defeat to India at Lord’s and is being assessed by the ECB medical staff, with Silverwood confirming that he will give Wood every chance to play in the third match of the series at Headingley.

However, with Jofra Archer and Olly Stone already ruled out of tour of Australia due to injury, Silverwood will not take any risks with the fitness of his only remaining 90mph-plus bowler.

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“The medics are working on Woody. We’ll find out more in the next couple of days,” Silverwood said.

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“He is a bowler who can hit 90mph-plus, so I’ve got to look after him, but he will be given every opportunity to be fit for Leeds and obviously we will make a decision, along with him, and our medics closer to the time.”

Asked just how important it is to look after Wood over the next few months, Silverwood replied: “In one word: very. Honestly, it’s massively important that we look after Woody.

“He is a prize asset, we’ve found ourselves in a position, when you lose Archer and Stone, you’ve got one guy left who can bowl that fast.

“That doesn’t take away from the quality of the rest of the bowlers we’ve got in our attack as well. Obviously, we’ve got Jimmy [Anderson] in there, (Ollie Robinson) has come in and shown how good he is as well, then if you think the guys we’ve got behind that in Craig Overton, Saqib Mahmood sat on the sidelines.

“We’ve got plenty of people who are out there; Sam Curran for the left-arm option. We saw him grow during the Test match, coming from Trent Bridge to where he is now, we saw his bowling improve all the time.

“Yes, (Wood) is the one who can hit 90mph but we’ve got real quality with the rest of the bowlers as well.”

England are set to name their squad for the Headingley Test on Wednesday and Silverwood refused to rule out further changes to the batting line-up after Haseeb Hameed replaced Zak Crawley at Lord’s.

The possibility of recalls for James Vince, who scored his first international century earlier this summer, and Dawid Malan was put to the former Essex coach and he would have no hesitation in bringing in players from outside of England’s red-ball set-up.

“I’ve got to keep my eyes, ears and mind open to all suggestions,” Silverwood said.

“It could still work. It’s not like I’m not in touch with these guys. I’ve seen them over the various formats and my relationship with these guys is very good. I’m quite close to them so I wouldn’t say you can’t do it.

“You’ve got to do what’s best for the team, ultimately. I’m lucky in the fact that, working over all formats, I get to know these guys well. I’ve got a relationship with them that would already be an existing relationship to work from if I brought them in.”

Watch day one of the third Test between England and India, at Emerald Headingley, on Wednesday, August 25, live on Sky Sports The Hundred from 10am.

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