England and Lucknow Super Giants pacer Mark Wood wants to prove that he is among the best in the business in the Indian Premier League (IPL) after his disappointing debut in the cash-rich T20 league five years ago.
Wood bowled four wicketless overs for Chennai Super Kings (CSK), conceding 49 runs, back in 2018 in his only IPL match before this season. He is now looking for redemption, having taken eight wickets in LSG’s first two matches so far.
“I felt like I had a bit of unfinished business, in terms of trying to come here and prove myself on a big stage,” Wood said ahead of LSG’s match against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday.
“I’ve played for England in World Cup finals (50-over and T20 both) but I hadn’t cracked in IPL. So this time, I’m trying my best to prove that I can be in the mix in IPL, with the best players.
“(I will) try to prove a point, that I’m up to this standard.” Wood took five for 14 against Delhi Capitals and then three for 49 in Monday night’s defeat to CSK.
“I don’t think I was really prepared for CSK at that time. I played one match and I got smashed,” Wood said about his first IPL experience in 2018.
“I had just come off the back of a Test match tour (in New Zealand) and I hadn’t prepared well. That was my own fault, I went into that game a bit underprepared and didn’t do myself justice.” He was signed by Lucknow Super Giants for Rs 7.5 crore in the 2022 auction, and was then retained for 2023. He missed the last season of IPL due to an elbow injury which also ruled him out of England’s home international summer.
“I’m here this year, trying my best to contribute for Lucknow, trying to repay the faith that they’ve shown in me, sticking by me and picking me again,” said the 33-year-old.
“So far, I’ve absolutely loved it. KL Rahul has been brilliant with me. The management have been excellent, keeping my role clear, what they expect.” He said he has been using the experience of captain KL Rahul to good effect.
“He’s someone from India, he knows the pitches well, (and) he’s a vastly experienced player in these conditions. So (I will) use him and my own knowledge, and try and come up with the best plan on the field for these wickets.
“It’s great to get the wickets. That’s what my role was going to be, coming to LSG.” Woods said he can bowl at a faster pace than in the last two matches.
“The ones I’ve seen on TV, I’ve been around that 140-143 (kph) mark, which has been a bit disappointing,” he said.
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