Durham and England cricketer Mark Wood has had an operation in London which he is hoping will cure a troublesome ankle problem.
The Ashington-born right arm pace bowler, who lives in Wansbeck, has made nothing short of a sensational impact since making his England bow against Ireland in April.
The 25-year-old, who is now on crutches and faces an eight-week rehabilitation programme, said at the weekend: “I’ve had a chronic problem with my ankle for a couple of years and have had a bit of everything really – injections, physiotherapy and rest.
“In Dubai against Pakistan recently, I reckon I turned in my best show in an England shirt, not just because I took three wickets in the first innings and two in the second.
“The pitches are more conducive for spinners rather than fast bowlers but I didn’t concede many runs and got some of the good players out.
“I still proved to be an asset to the team and would hope to turn in performances like that on a more regular basis.
“I had an injection two weeks ago but having the op, which was carried out by surgeon James Calder, gave me a 95 per cent chance of being perfect so I thought this was the best option for my career.
“It will take eight weeks to recover and I am bitterly disappointed at the thought of missing England’s trip to South Africa in December, but I will nevertheless look back on what has been a fantastic year for me.”
Apart from making a return to the sport, Wood has set himself a new target.
“I made my Test debut in May against New Zealand at Lord’s, played in the one dayers then was a member of the side which regained the Ashes,” he added.
“Some of the best players and legends haven’t won the Ashes but here I am having achieved the feat in my first year in International cricket, which is incredible.
“There is still more to come from me too. Taking a five-wicket haul for England is something which is on my radar.”