Fit-again firebrand Mark Wood can provide England’s bowling attack with the stardust needed to seal a maiden piece of 50-over international silverware after being included in their Champions Trophy squad, according to selector James Whitaker.
Durham’s Wood has been named in a 15-man party for the white-ball tournament, which begins on 1 June, after undergoing a third ankle operation during the winter which saw him miss England’s entire programme.
Liam Plunkett, yet to play for Yorkshire this season due to a calf injury, is also included, although there is no place for Middlesex quick Steven Finn, who has been named in a separate squad to face Ireland in two one-day clashes next month.
“Wood is an exceptional X-factor bowler,” said Whitaker. “He can bowl 90 miles an hour and is a batsman and on his day is a handful. We look forward to seeing him.
“He’s worked hard on his fitness. He’s had a few issues in the last year or so but he made his comeback in the [pre-season games in the] United Arab Emirates and has progressed nicely over the season for Durham.”
There are no real surprise selections in the England squad with Finn, who played all three 50-over matches against the West Indies earlier this year, being the standout omission.
“It’s unfortunate for Steven,” added Whitaker. “He may get his chance against Ireland but at the moment we’re comfortable with the seamers we’ve got.”
With Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes all missing the Ireland tussles due to their Indian Premier League commitments, England’s selectors have declined the opportunity to blood the likes of Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan or Tom Curran.