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Cricket World Cup 2019

Wood assures England are in a good place despite defeat to Pakistan

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Two days after his team suffered their first loss in the 2019 World Cup, England fast bowler Mark Wood was ready to look past the defeat and assured that England are still in a very good place.

England fell short by 14 runs in a big chase of 349, despite brilliant hundreds from Joe Root and Jos Buttler. The result was quite the aberration, seeing as England had wiped out the same opposition in a five-match ODI series before the World Cup, where they twice chased down targets of over 340.

It was also a consequence of some shoddy fielding. Chris Woakes snaffled four catches in the outfield, and yet, England’s performance on the field went down as one of their worst in recent times, and Wood said that remedies would be applied.

“It’s never nice to lose, so, yes, there are lessons learned. But we’ve been learning lessons for four years,” Wood said. “This isn’t like a thing like we say we need to change the wheel. We weren’t good enough in one area – the field – and that will be addressed before the next game. But I still think we’re in a pretty good place.

“Maybe we will put it down as one of those days when we were beaten by a better team and we need to improve one aspect of our game … we needed 11 Chris Woakeses in every position and we would have been alright. Now we train really hard and do a lot on our fielding.

“Whether it was the occasion – there were a lot of Pakistan fans – whether we got wound up by their batters – them smacking it – whether we just got too heated in the moment, I don’t know. But it was unlike us; normally, we are a really good fielding side.”

Wood himself had a good outing in that game, snaring two wickets, including that of top-scorer Mohammad Hafeez. He also wound up being one of only two England bowlers to concede runs at under six an over. Wood, however, admitted to feeling the nerves in his first match.

“I cannot say for the others, but I was nervous. First World Cup match. I was playing a slightly different role. I wanted to do well.

“Liam Plunkett has taken a million wickets in the middle overs and I was thinking the first thing I have to do is get a wicket. And I didn’t get a wicket until the [43rd], and I was thinking, ‘he’s still the main man!’ Yes, I was nervous, but good nerves.”

While his own spot in the side isn’t assured, with England keeping a close eye on their fast bowlers’ workloads, Wood expressed confidence in England’s ability to dust off the loss to Pakistan and bounce back.

“We’ll pick whichever team best suits the conditions,” he said. “I’m pleased personally that it has gone well. But for the next game, Cardiff is a place with big square boundaries, and Liam Plunkett has bowled well there in the past, so he would probably come back in. It’s just who for or which bowler might be left out.

“We have a huge target on our back because we are the favourites for the tournament, the home side. Everyone wants to beat us. What we have done well over the years is bounce back well and I think we need that going into the next match regardless of what it was – Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand, whoever. We need to bounce back with a bit of authority and say that we’re here to win it and put on a real show.”

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