Ashington born cricketer Mark Wood said he is ‘gutted’ after his tour to Sri Lanka with England Lions was curtailed due to injury.
The 24-year-old had made a big impression in the first warm-up game when he took five wickets on his debut.
But he had to return home last week after tests showed a strain in his side which was hindering his bowling action.
The England squad flew out from Heathrow to Colombo towards the end of last month in preparation to play two warm-up games against a Sri Lanka ‘A’ team of emerging players before three four-day matches against Sri Lanka ‘A’ at Kandy, Dambulla and Colombo.
Right arm pace bowler Wood, who learned of his call up just before the turn of the year and described it as being the perfect Christmas present, said: “After we got to Colombo, we had a week’s training and everything was A1.
“The facilities were excellent and I felt in great shape and was chomping at the bit.
“I was selected for the first game and received an extra boost when being given the new ball.
“The coaching staff obviously had confidence in me and likewise it gave me a further lift.”
Wood described the playing conditions as surreal.
He added: “It was 90 per cent humidity in Colombo, which saps your energy and makes you sweat all of the time.
“But after we had scored 201 all out in our first innings, which put us in good spirits, I took three wickets in the Sri Lanka reply and got two more the following morning to end with figures of 5-32 from 13 overs. I was more than happy.
“Then after taking another scalp in the second innings, felt a nip in my side with every ball I bowled.
“The coaching staff decided to take me off and after doing stretches I felt fine – until the next morning when I was stiff and sore.
“Consequently, they sent me for an MRI scan which showed a strain.
“I thought I would miss the next couple of weeks then aim to be fit for the last two games, but it was decided that I should return home.
“I was gutted – and it took me a few days to get over it.
“I always give 100 per cent and although I know it is just one of those things, I am still disappointed.”
Wood’s immediate goal is next month when Durham take on an MCC XI in Abu Dhabi – before the season proper begins in April.
“It provides me with a target to aim for as well as giving me time to get my mind and body focused,” he said.