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England’s T20 World Cup Preparations: No Excuses Despite Challenges, Says Mark Wood

England’s bowler Mark Wood is confident that the team will have “no excuses” heading into the T20 World Cup, despite a less-than-ideal buildup. This month’s four-match series against Pakistan was meant to serve as a warm-up, but the first and third matches were completely washed out due to rain.

The team now looks forward to the fourth and final T20 at The Oval on Thursday, which will be broadcast live on BBC Two and iPlayer. This match is crucial as it’s their last practice before their World Cup opener against Scotland in Barbados on June 4, though forecasts predict more rain.

“You want the games to practice stuff, but it’s a fine balance,” Wood said. “One or two of us might feel like we need a game or two to get going, but there will be no excuses. We’re a professional side, we’re the England cricket team, we’ve got everything we need. We should be able to adapt, and when we get out there that’s when the time to turn it on is.”

England’s second T20 against Pakistan at Edgbaston, which the hosts won by 23 runs, was their first T20 match of the year. In stark contrast, Pakistan has played 14 T20s in 2024. This disrupted series comes after several England players returned early from the Indian Premier League (IPL) to prepare.

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Reflecting on the mixed preparation, Wood noted, “Some lads have been playing at the IPL and they’re match ready. The lads that haven’t, is there a freshness? At the IPL, you’re playing all the time, other lads have seen your tricks, they’ve seen what you’re doing.”

Adding to the disruption, coach Matthew Mott missed a day of training due to a family issue, and captain Jos Buttler was absent from the third T20 to be with his wife for the birth of their third child. Despite these challenges, England isn’t alone in facing a troubled run-up to the World Cup. Australia, for instance, had to field members of their backroom staff in a game against Namibia due to player commitments at the IPL.

Wood, who has been sidelined since England’s fifth Test in India on March 9 due to a knee issue, was set to return in the third T20 in Cardiff, which was rained out. The upcoming match at The Oval would be his first T20 appearance since April 2023.

“It will be important for me, to be honest with you,” Wood said. “I actually feel like I’m getting to the stage where I’m off my full run, I’m ready to play. I feel I was in a position to bowl quickly and test it out.”

As England prepares to face Scotland, the team remains focused and determined, ready to adapt and overcome any obstacles to make their mark at the T20 World Cup.

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