Since he lengthened his run-up at the end of 2018, England quick Mark Wood has not only played a key part in a World Cup-winning campaign, but also taken 18 Test wickets at a lowly average of 14.22.
While injuries have persisted – he missed the entirety of the 2019 Ashes due to side and knee problems – when Wood has been out on the field, his 90mph-plus deliveries have been a feature of his success at international level.
At the start of his England career, Wood’s short but explosive run-up stood out before he finally took the plunge to reduce the stress on his body. In fact, prior to Wood’s debut in 2015, alongside James Anderson, Stuart Broad talked to the Durham man about the length of his run-up while on a training camp in South Africa in 2014.
“Going back, Jimmy [Anderson] and I went to Potchefstroom on a bowler’s camp, [which was] the first time I ever met Woody,” Broad said on a Sky Sports Watchalong.
“He had this short powerful run, and Jimmy and I actually sat down with him over dinner one night and talked about his views on potentially lengthening his run. The thing about a short run is that it puts a lot of pressure on your body because you’re having to really explode at the crease rather than carrying a bit more momentum with you that takes the stress off your body.”
Broad had plenty of praise for Wood’s eventual move to a longer run-up, which he saw up close last winter when Wood took 12 wickets in two Tests against South Africa.
“Since he has lengthened it, his rhythm looks wonderful. He’s had a couple of spells I’ve watched in particular, at Port Elizabeth this winter, [where] he was cruising in off this longer run; it was almost like watching one of the real quick bowlers from the Eighties. Hopefully, he’s settled into that quite well and it will allow his body to take a bit of pressure off the key parts of his ankles.
“I think it’s a really good move for Woody.”