Luke Wood braces for England ODI debut … despite three-year 50-over drought

Luke Wooden is about to make his England ODI debut within the Netherlands however has not performed a 50-over sport for 3 years. As such, his call-up to Matthew Mott’s first white-ball squad for the three-match collection which begins on Friday, squeezed in between the second and third New Zealand Assessments, is a revealing second.

Wooden, a strapping left-arm seamer, has been on England’s radar for a while – he’s a former Beneath-19 worldwide and was a reserve for January’s T20I collection in Barbados – however his involvement highlights the extent to which 50-over cricket has slipped down the record of priorities in English cricket because the 2019 World Cup.

“He has been constant for Lancashire over the previous 12 months and we’ve got been monitoring his development,” Mott mentioned when the squad was introduced, however a telling truth was conspicuous by its absence: Wooden has by no means really performed a 50-over sport for Lancashire.

Since his Checklist A debut in 2016, Wooden has performed solely three extra video games {of professional} 50-over cricket, most just lately for Nottinghamshire in Could 2019. The depth of Notts’ bowling assault and resultant lack of first-team alternatives was a significant component in Wooden’s choice to depart for Lancashire on the finish of that season and his contract with Trent Rockets within the Hundred means he has solely worn the Crimson Rose in first-class and T20 cricket.

Within the two full seasons since his transfer to Previous Trafford, none of England’s finest white-ball gamers have performed a home 50-over sport: the Royal London Cup was cancelled in 2020 as a result of pandemic and clashed with the Hundred in 2021. It’s going to achieve this once more this summer time and whereas the Skilled Cricketers Affiliation (PCA) are pushing for a change subsequent 12 months, it is going to show onerous to seek out room in a schedule that’s already at breaking level.

“I do know that I have never performed a 50-over sport for 3 years,” Wooden tells ESPNcricinfo. “With the Hundred and the 50-over comp happening on the similar time, lots of people within the body will not have performed loads of 50-over cricket just lately except it is at worldwide degree. If you happen to take a look at the schedule, it is most likely one thing you may see increasingly more of, except one thing modifications.”

And but Wooden isn’t unduly involved by inexperience as a 50-over bowler: “It is similar to T20 in a way. Your abilities are just about the identical, it is only a longer time period. I used to be away this winter [at the Abu Dhabi T10 and the PSL] and should you have in mind the Hundred and the Blast, I’ve most likely performed extra white-ball cricket within the final 12 months than I ever have previously.

“I would not say it is a difficulty. From an outsider’s viewpoint, you would possibly take a look at me having performed 4 video games and it might sound a bit complicated. However I believe you have to take white-ball cricket as a complete now, not simply 50-over cricket and T20 cricket.”

England have been compelled to select gamers alongside these traces, highlighting specific roles of their facet and understanding who’s best-placed to fill them primarily based predominantly on T20 performances. Wooden – together with Brydon Carse, who impressed in England’s ODI collection towards Pakistan final 12 months – has been recognized as a possible attacking menace within the center overs within the Liam Plunkett position, regardless of the actual fact he largely bowls with the brand new ball for Lancashire within the Blast.

Whereas lower than superb, England have coped beforehand with a home schedule that doesn’t mirror the worldwide sport: between 2010 and 2013, the counties performed a 40-over Checklist A match reasonably than a 50-over one, a call which had long-term advantages for younger batters like Jos Buttler and Jason Roy who had been nonetheless making their means within the sport.

The shorter format compelled that technology to play in a extra attacking model, one which occurred to reflect the one Eoin Morgan applied after the 2015 World Cup. Nathan Leamon, England’s white-ball analyst, wrote in his e-book Hitting In opposition to The Spin with Ben Jones that it was “a contented accident” which formed the event of “the best assortment of white-ball batsmen that England has ever produced”.

However the distinction is clearly starker now and whereas there are transferrable abilities in lots of roles – openers, finishers and new-ball bowlers, for instance – the ECB are eager to create alternatives for gifted gamers to play 50-over video games: the Lions play two one-day fixtures towards South Africa subsequent month and are because of tour this winter, whereas the return of an annual North vs South collection shall be mentioned as a part of Andrew Strauss’ high-performance evaluate.

Mo Bobat, England’s efficiency director, believes that Lions squads are the toughest to pick of any and subsequent month’s choice will see short-term wants balanced with longer-term ambitions: among the nation’s finest younger white-ball gamers reminiscent of Will Smeed and Tom Lammonby stay uncapped in Checklist A cricket and shall be thought-about for the South Africa fixtures.

Within the brief time period, the Netherlands tour is prone to see Dawid Malan given a chance to bat at No. 3 and pitch his case to be Root’s back-up in a full-strength squad, whereas Buttler seems to be set to maneuver up the order – more than likely to No. 4 – as England look to get probably the most out of the world’s in-form white-ball batter.

There can even be alternatives for fringe seamers together with Carse, Wooden, Reece Topley and David Payne to impress the brand new hierarchy within the absence of a number of first-choice gamers because of accidents, with Mott highlighting loss of life bowling as a “actually key focus” for the collection.

For Wooden, the objective this week is easy: “I simply need to attempt to present everybody what I am about,” he says. “Hopefully I could make my ODI debut and do effectively.” If he does, he could be the first England participant within the trendy period to characteristic in an ODI with no Checklist A monitor report to talk of; it appears unlikely that he would be the final.

Matt Curler is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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ESPNcricinfo is a sports news website exclusively for the game of cricket. The site features news, articles, live coverage of cricket matches, and StatsGuru, a database of historical matches and players from the 18th century to the present. As of March 2018, Sambit Bal was the editor.

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