‘Curran on Love Island, Plunkett on Gogglebox’ – Wood’s World Cup

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In my last column, I revealed all about my trip to Harry Potter World.

As a result, when I was fielding on the boundary in our game against Bangladesh, some fans were shouting “Woody, what’s it like being in Gryffindor?”

I gave them a wave of an imaginary wand as a response – it was good banter.

That was also the game where Jofra Archer and I were involved in our own battle to be England’s fastest bowler.

He may have bowled Soumya Sarkar with a delivery that hit the top of off stump and sent the ball all the way over the boundary without bouncing, but I pipped him on the speed gun.

Jofra always stands next to me when I’m bowling, fielding at mid-off. He says that my speeds appear on the big screen, but his don’t. He thinks it’s a conspiracy, but I tell him it’s because he’s bowling so fast they can’t get a reading.

The win against Bangladesh was followed by victory against West Indies in Southampton. Here, I’ll tell you about the lengths I had to go to be fit for that game, how we dealt with the injuries we suffered against the Windies and which member of the England squad should be on Love Island.

Every hour on the ice machine

My history with injuries, particularly my left ankle, is well documented.

I know from tests at Loughborough that seven times my body weight go through that left ankle when I bowl. That’s more than 500kg of stress going through the front leg every time I send down a delivery.

I always tape it and, even though I felt no problems in the Bangladesh game, there was some bruising on my foot when I removed the tape at the end of the game.

Still, I knew that if I did the right things, I could still play against West Indies six days later.

So when I was back home in the north-east I was hooked up to my ice machine every hour for three or four days. That meant 20 minutes on the ice, an hour off, then another 20 minutes, and so on.

Not only that, but with the amount of anti-inflammatories I took, I’m surprised my stomach didn’t rattle.

I stayed off my feet, to the extent that I felt like a bit of a slob. At one point, some friends came to visit and, when we were sitting in the garden at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, I was still wearing my pyjama bottoms.

This is one example of the things I have to do to be fit to bowl fast for England.

Therefore, when I put in a good performance, like I did when taking three wickets in Southampton, it’s all the more satisfying.

The time in the gym, on the physio’s bed, the icing, injections and miles travelled to see countless specialists is totally worth it to be able to play cricket for my country.

Receiving treatment on my ankle – a common sight

Plunkett on Gogglebox, Tom Curran on Love Island

We’re a pretty sociable bunch and we all get on well, so you might find any combination of us out for dinner on any given night.

The constants, though, are me, Chris Woakes and Liam Plunkett (hereafter, known as his nickname ‘Pudsey’). As three fast bowlers, Pudsey likes to refer to us as the ‘worker ants’.

On Friday night, it was dinner, then back to my room for Celebrity Gogglebox, Love Island and the Graham Norton Show.

Me and Pudsey are pretty desperate for a go on Gogglebox. We’d be pretty good at it too.

Pudsey has got more patter than a fortnight’s rain. He’s funny, can do a few different accents and he’s not shy with his opinions. Hopefully we can get on.

I got into Love Island because Max Morley, who won the first series, used to play for Durham.

Now, all the lads in the World Cup squad are loving it and it’s right up there in our topics of conversation. I’m not sure I can get on board with adding “it is what it is” to my regular vocabulary, though.

If it’s Pudsey and I for Gogglebox, then it would have to definitely be Tom Curran as the man to send to the Love Island villa.

Firstly, he’s single. He’s got good chat and he’s only got about 1% body fat on him. Add that to his tattoos, slick-back hair and tan and I reckon he’d do well.

Tom Curran – a reality TV star in the making?

Southampton showed our resilience

It’s never nice to see your team-mates leave the field, but that’s what we had to deal with at Southampton when both Jason Roy and Eoin Morgan hobbled out of the win against West Indies.

I know from my own experience that you shouldn’t panic in those situations. Yes, you might have a problem in that moment, but it might be different in half an hour. Things can change quickly.

After Jason left the field, I actually had to nip off myself to get the tape on my ankle sorted.

I was in the physio’s room as he was getting his hamstring iced. Other players in his situation might have been worried that their World Cup was over, but he was cracking jokes. Because of that, I was more relaxed for him.

After that, we had the worry of Eoin really struggling with a back spasm. As he slowly made his way off the field, a few of the lads were really concerned – I was one of them with my hands on my head.

Very quickly, though, Jos Buttler, who had stepped in as captain, got us together to remind us that our plans didn’t change. He got us back into game-mode.

When we got off the field, it was reassuring to find that the physio’s room smelled like a Sunday league football dressing room, such was the amount of heat rub that Eoin had on his back.

Now, it looks like Eoin could be able to play against Afghanistan at Old Trafford on Tuesday and Jason might only miss two games.

With them unable to bat against the Windies, not only did Joe Root once again prove that he’s one of the best in the world by scoring a hundred as stand-in opener, but my mate Woakes did a ‘my bat, my ball’ by moving to number three and making 40.

Now, we’re calling him Jacques Kallis. Against Afghanistan, he’ll probably open the bowling, bat three, field at second slip and choose the songs we have on in the dressing room.

On a more serious note, for us to get a very big win against West Indies despite the adversity we faced because of the injuries was a brilliant result.

Coach Trevor Bayliss said before the game that we had the opportunity to put a gap between ourselves and the rest and that is what we did.

We stood up with the ball and, even without two of our top four, we were clinical with the bat.

That bodes well for the rest of the tournament. The injuries have not derailed us and we have stayed focused on what we have to do, starting with the Afghanistan game.

Mark Wood was speaking to BBC Sport’s Stephan Shemilt.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/48667762

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