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India v England: Mark Wood says tourists want to make history


  • By Stephan Shemilt
  • Chief cricket writer in Hyderabad

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Mark Wood has taken 104 wickets at an average of 29.45 in 31 Tests

Fast bowler Mark Wood says England want to make history when the Test series against India begins in Hyderabad on Thursday.

England have not won in India since 2012, their only series victory on their past seven trips to the country.

“Not many teams come here and win,” said Wood. “It’s a free hit, to be honest.

“We’ve created history in the past. We could go down in flames but we will give it a good go.”

England are yet to lose a Test series since Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum took over as captain and coach respectively in the summer of 2022.

Last winter England became the first team to record a 3-0 clean sweep in Pakistan.

Asked if England were looking to make another piece of history, Wood said: “Definitely.”

Pakistan were the most recent team to win a series of at least five Tests in India, in 1987.

Since England became the last side to win a series of any length in India – 2-1 in 2012 – they have lost 4-0 in 2016 and 3-1 in 2021.

In what would be his first Test in India, Wood looks set to bring his express pace to the England attack in the series opener.

On what is thought to be a very dry pitch in Hyderabad – India coach Rahul Dravid said “it might spin a little bit” – Wood could partner James Anderson in a two-man pace attack.

With frontline spinner Jack Leach fit again after missing last summer’s Ashes, England will likely choose between uncapped left-armer Tom Hartley and 19-year-old leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed, who took five wickets on debut in Pakistan.

Uncapped off-spinner Shoaib Bashir is still in Abu Dhabi because of a delay in receiving his visa.

After batter Harry Brook left the England squad for personal reasons, Ben Foakes seems likely to return behind the stumps, with Jonny Bairstow playing as a specialist batter. However, Bairstow did some keeping in practice on Tuesday.

India will be without talismanic batter Virat Kohli, who withdrew from the squad for the first two Tests for personal reasons.

“I don’t know what is going on in his personal life, but there are bigger things than cricket,” said Wood.

“Hopefully he’s going to be alright. It’s obviously a big impact cricketing-wise because he’s one of the best players in the world, one of the best players ever.

“In terms of cricket, it’s a plus that we’re not having to bowl to Virat Kohli.

“I’m sure he’ll play some role in the series. Away from the cricket, we wish him all the best.”

India are yet to name a replacement for Kohli, but could add to their squad before the first Test begins.

“Any team with the miss the quality of a player like Virat,” said Dravid. “He’s a phenomenal player and his record speaks for itself.

“On the field, his presence is a huge boost to the side. Having said that, it presents another opportunity for somebody else to step up.”

Wood is one of five players still with the Test squad who were part of England’s awful defence of the 50-over World Cup in India last year.

England lost six of their nine games, including a first defeat by Afghanistan, to finish seventh in the 10-team group, well adrift of a place in the semi-finals.

“We came here with big expectations and we didn’t live up to it – nowhere near up to it,” said Wood.

“It just didn’t go well. We wanted that chance to create something as a group and we fell well short.

“It really hurt for a while, but that’s why that was the hunger to come back into this environment.

“I’ve got a point to prove a little bit here. I’m ready to try to prove that was just a one-off.”



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