Updated January 23rd, 2024 at 15:26 IST

ENG pacer Mark Wood opens up on ways to tame Rohit Sharma ahead of 1st Test match against India

In the forthcoming five-match Test series, England fast bowler Mark Wood stated on Tuesday that controlling Rohit Sharma with strategic short-pitched ball usage will be crucial to the team's hopes of defeating a formidable India at home.

Mark Wood | Image: AP
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England fast bowler Mark Wood on Tuesday said taming Rohit Sharma with judicious use of short-pitched balls will figure highly in his and the team's plans to edge past a dominant-at-home India in the upcoming five-match Test series.

The first Test is scheduled to begin here from Thursday, and Wood said the nature of pitches, even if slow, could abet the strategy.

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"Yeah, the conditions will be assessed once I am out there, and bumps (bouncers) are rarely bought out here. But the pitch sometimes can be two-paced and, if it is slow, it can help (bowlers) because the batters will be through with the shot," Wood said in a press conference here.

"Someone like Rohit, I know how good he is on the short ball. That doesn't necessarily mean that I wouldn't bowl a bouncer. It just means that I'll have to be really accurate with it and bowl at the right time," he added.

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Under their captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, England have been playing an aggressive brand of cricket, but Wood said the team is also willing to adapt to the conditions.

For him, it is all about cashing in on the opportunities to put the pressure back on the home side.

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"I think we'll still look to take the game on. I think at times it's been smart though, you know, to consolidate it in and then when the chance comes to put the pressure back on (India).

The 34-year-old Durham man said handling pressure would also be a key factor in deciding whether England create history on these shores as they had done against Pakistan in late 2022.

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"I guess it's all about soaking up that pressure when needed, maybe when the Indian batsmen are on top. We have to soak up that pressure and create a bit of a theatre or drama on the field and then when it's time, attack again. That's the same with bat and ball," said Wood.

In 2022, England had become the first visiting team to inflict a 3-0 series clean sweep on Pakistan. In India, England's last Test series win came in 2012-13 under Alastair Cook.

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"We know the challenges here. They (India) very rarely lose at home. I think it's almost like a bit of a free hit for us where we can come in and try something different," Wood said.

"We created history in Pakistan recently, becoming the first team to win every match. So, this is another chance to do something historic and try and beat India in their own conditions," he added.

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Wood brushed aside concerns of England being under-prepared for this series and said their camp in Abu Dhabi helped the Three Lions tick several right boxes.

"I think we've prepped really well in Abu Dhabi. We've made pitches, we've scuffed pitches up to make them spin, we've put sand down to make it spin, we've had flat pitches to practice simple and reverse swing. So, we've had all the facilities available in Abu Dhabi.

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"It was also good to switch off there as well. We had a good team bonding session. So, we've come here fresh mentally and physically and ready to go," he added.

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Published January 23rd, 2024 at 15:26 IST