Ashington born Wood surprised by England call for West Indies tour

Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison, chairman Ian Lavery, Durham and England cricketer Mark Wood and Ashington captain Andrew Johnson at the shirt presentation. Picture by Gavin Perry
Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison, chairman Ian Lavery, Durham and England cricketer Mark Wood and Ashington captain Andrew Johnson at the shirt presentation. Picture by Gavin Perry
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Ashington born Mark Wood flies out to the Caribbean with England’s cricketers this week still stunned by his first ever call-up to the senior side.

But the 25-year-old admitted that it was nevertheless a proud moment for him when he was told of his inclusion.

“It came as a little bit of a surprise,” he said.

“I had just landed in Dubai with Durham when I got the news ... and obviously it was a really proud moment for me.

“I’m nervous but excited at the same time and I can’t wait to get going.”

Wood believes his performances on the England Lions tour to South Africa proved pivotal to his selection.

He ssaid: “I didn’t think I had a great year with Durham because of injuries, so that’s why my inclusion came as a shock.

“I did really well in South Africa and I think that got me into the Test squad.

“I’ve always said that if I can back games up in terms of consistency then I’ll do well and I have got confidence in my own ability.

“It is great that although I didn’t play that many games, they have managed to see something in me to allow me to be picked, so I’ve got to thanks the selectors for that.”

Wood will meet up with the other members of the 16-man squad on Tuesday before flying direct to Barbados the following day, where they will prepare for three Tests against the West Indies, and he has already listened to voices of experience.

He said: “I worked with James Anderson and Stuart Broad before Christmas on a fast bowlers’ camp in South Africa and they were great giving me advice.

“Steve Harmison has also passed on invaluable knowledge so all I can do now is to do my best.”

In regards to the playing conditions, Wood added: “All the wickets are slightly different over there.

“They are meant to be pretty flat so maybe one or two pitches will suit me.

“If it’s dry and the ball reverses that will really help me, and the weather will be hotter than in Ashington, that’s for certain.”

The first starts on Monday, April 13, in Antigua, and is followed by games in Grenada and Barbados.

“It will be nice to finish in a tourist spot like Barbados,” added Wood.

Ian Lavery, chairman of Ashington FC, said: “As a long standing friend of Mark’s family I have watched him grow up into another of Ashington’s fine sportsmen.

“It was fantastic to see the response of his successful Lions tour resulting in Mark’s inclusion into the full England cricket squad.

“I am absolutely positive that he will not do just England proud but this region, and in particular his home town of Ashington.

“I am sure I will be joined by many in our community in wishing Mark the very, very best for a bright future.”