An encouraging performance in training from Mark Wood and Dawid Malan has given England a boost on the eve of the World Cup final.
Less than 24 hours after coach Matthew Mott said it was improbable that both men would make the game, they breezed through their fitness tests.
Particularly impressive was the wood. He began bowling in the nets at about half pace after performing several sprints on the MCG outfield with no apparent negative consequences. But a short while later, he charged in and bowled two overs at full speed.
Malan passed the outfield fitness test as well. He then batted in the nets while appearing at ease.
It’s too soon to say whether either can be chosen for the final. To see whether there have been any negative effects from the sessions, they will be evaluated once more on Sunday morning.
The availability of Wood and Malan could make it challenging for the England management to make their selections. Malan was replaced by Phil Salt for the semi-final, and Salt is still doing well in goal, making him the more aggressive option in any case.
Mark Wood has been the tournament’s fastest bowler:
Although Malan is the sixth-ranked English batsman in the men’s T20I rankings, he may be better suited to counter the threat provided by Shaheen Afridi and company given the attack’s abundance of speed and talent. He would presumably be chosen if he was found fully healthy and capable of contributing fully on the field.
The fastest bowler in the competition, Mark Wood, offers the chance for a significant bite in the middle overs. But England will be hesitant to take any kind of a chance with him, and Chris Jordan, who was supposed to replace him in the semi-final, performed admirably in Adelaide.
Jordan bowled three overs at the end, which Wood seldom ever does, among other things. However, he was quite excellent in the nets and may have provided a strong justification for his inclusion.
On November 13, England will face Pakistan in the final of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at Melbourne’s MCG.