Mark Wood
Mark Wood Credits: Twitter

England captain Ben Stokes explained the reason behind playing impact maker Mark Wood over seasoned James Anderson for the opening test against India. The England squad has given Tom Hartley his debut in the Hyderabad test as the team would start with a lone fast bowler and three spinners against the formidable Indian outfit.

Mark Wood has emerged as one of the most prolific match-winners for England in all three formats. The 34-year-old was a key player in England’s 3-0 series sweep in Pakistan last year, taking 8 wickets in two Tests. His pace and accuracy, which was a major difference in the Ashes series against Australia, maybe the same in India.

During the pre-match press conference, Ben Stokes discussed the importance of Mark Wood in the team, who can bowl at such a high pace and has the strength to reverse the old ball and bowl short balls at good speed. He also revealed that the team would use him in shorter spells to have a real impact in the game and that the decision to select Wood over Anderson was clearly based on the conditions in Hyderabad.

“Obviously, what he brings with his high pace…he is a real impact builder. Bowling the 90 mile an hour with a reversing ball is obviously going to be very difficult to play against. He’s another weapon which you can use out here with short, sharp spells, wanting him to be bowling as fast as he can and for short periods. There’re no worries about these long spells because that’s how we’re going to use him this week.” 

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes Credits: Twitter

“Jimmy’s incredible professional. You never know how conditions might change and what you might feel is the best setup for your team. But now we’re not looking at having to manage Jimmy or his workloads or anything like that. You know, we put him in the spot because we think he’s one of the best performers,” Ben Stokes said.

Veteran England pacer James Anderson is now one of the best fast bowlers in the world, who has done well around the world. He has taken more wickets in the longer format of the game than any other fast bowler. The right-arm bowler has taken 690 wickets in 183 Tests, averaging 26.42, and is expected to play a part in England’s campaign in a five-match Test series.

We Sort Of Take Every Opportunity Head On And We Run Towards It – Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes admitted that playing in the Indian circumstances is difficult, but he believes it provides an opportunity for the squad to perform well in foreign surroundings. He was pleased to accept the opportunity to perform in India, and that the team is excited about the challenge ahead of them.

England Cricket Team
England Cricket Team Credits: Twitter

“I think any team that comes to India, it’s always a tough challenge. We respect that as a team as well. But that presents us with an opportunity. This team loves opportunities. We sort of take every opportunity head on and we run towards it. We don’t back away from anything. But yeah, India is an incredibly hard place to come and win a game cricket. But I am really, really looking forward to the challenge,” Ben Stokes added.

England plans to employ a more aggressive and risk-taking approach to Test match cricket, rather than the usual patient manner in both batting and bowling, and the Ben Stokes-led side would like to create history on Indian soil in 2024 by outperforming the home side.