Seam bowler Mark Wood hopes to transform from a “net hero” to an Ashes match-winner when he is reacquainted with Australia all-rounder Shane Watson in the five-match series starting next week.
Durham seamer Wood was once instructed as a young net bowler to bounce Watson by his Australia team mate Mike Hussey.
Having been named in England’s Ashes training squad, right-armer Wood looks set to take on Watson once again when the Ashes begin in Cardiff on July 8.
“Mike Hussey asked me to bounce Watson in the nets, to which I wasn’t going to say no,” Wood told the BBC.
“I let him have one, he gloved it and didn’t give me the best of looks. Next ball, Hussey said ‘give it him again’, so I bumped him again and this time he absolutely smoked it. He picked up the ball, threw it back down the wicket at me and called me a ‘net hero’.”
Wood made his test debut against New Zealand at Lord’s in May and went on to take nine wickets in the two-match series.
The 25-year-old has struggled with injury problems throughout his career and has been restricted to 26 first-class matches since making his debut in 2011.
However, Wood hopes his fitness issues are behind him.
“I would describe myself as a wicket-taker, a skiddy and athletic bowler,” Wood said.
“I’ve accepted the fact I’ve had injuries because I was developing as a bowler and developing as a bloke. I’ve always been a slight lad and, in the last couple of years, looking after my body has stood me in good stead. People might be shocked that I have been picked for England, but I always felt that if I could stay on the park, I would do well.” he said.