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Mark Wood eager to prove England’s poor World Cup was ‘one-off’ on India return

Mark Wood was part of the side that slumped to a seventh-place finish at last year’s World Cup (Zac Goodwin/PA)
Mark Wood was part of the side that slumped to a seventh-place finish at last year’s World Cup (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Mark Wood admits England’s World Cup blowout “really hurt” and is desperate to put things right on his return to Indian soil with the Test team.

Wood was part of the side that slumped to a seventh-place finish at the tournament a matter of weeks ago, with the defending champions ruthlessly exposed during a handful of stinging defeats.

Fresh from playing a crucial role in England’s Ashes comeback over the summer, Wood was unable to lift the 50-over side in the same way, chipping in with just six wickets in seven matches and going at 6.46 runs an over.

Speaking ahead of Thursday’s first Test in Hyderabad, where he is expected to provide the pace in spin-friendly conditions, Wood is eager to put those 50-over struggles firmly behind him.

“I didn’t perform well in the World Cup and that was my last involvement so I feel like I’ve got a point to prove a little bit here,” he said.

“I was very disappointed with that whole campaign, personally and as a team. Conditions might not be favourable for me but I’ll be trying to put a better show than I did at the World Cup. We came here with big expectations and we didn’t live up to it, nowhere near up to it.

“I was really upset with it. For about a week once I got home I was thinking, ‘Why did I do that?’ or ‘Why was this happening?’, ‘What did we do that for?’.

“It really hurt for a while but that’s why there is a hunger to come back into this environment. I’m ready to try to prove that was just a one-off.”

While England’s status as defending champions meant they had been well fancied heading into the World Cup, the odds place them as distant second favourites ahead of the five-match series.

India have not been turned over at home since 2012, when Sir Alastair Cook’s England scored a famous win, losing only three of their 46 subsequent Tests.

The widespread belief that India will prevail again on the kind of turning surfaces that undermined England’s efforts in 2021 is liberating to Wood, who is focusing on the chance to do something special.

“We’ve created history in the past, (winning last year) in Pakistan. It’s a free hit, to be honest,” he said.

India England Cricket
England captain Ben Stokes attends a practice session ahead of the first Test (Mahesh Kumar A./AP)

“Not many teams come here and win. If we give it a good go, we could go down in flames, but if we give it a go, it’s no different to any other time.”

The majority of England’s XI seems to be locked in, with Harry Brook’s return home for personal reasons opening the way for Ben Foakes to return to the team and reclaim the wicketkeeping gloves from Jonny Bairstow.

Wood and James Anderson are favoured to take seam bowling duties, with Jack Leach likely to be joined by one of Tom Hartley or Rehan Ahmed in the spin ranks.

The squad’s fourth spinner, 20-year-old Shoaib Bashir, missed a second training session on Tuesday after visa complications kept him grounded in Abu Dhabi.