Why the series against Sri Lanka is important for England
Since England and Sri Lanka are embroiled in an ODI series for the next few days, the Three Lions need to perform at a high level to secure their future. Other formats have done well and England needs to perform in the ODI format too.
In the T20 series, England swept Sri Lanka 3-0 and it was a strong performance. If they can replicate that for both the ODI and in Tests, you can expect England to play at a similar level. With series against India and Australia on the horizon, England needs to adjust so they can keep up with the other top teams in the world.
Fast bowler Mark Wood knows the gravity of these games against SL and how it can change their form. He said, ‘I have missed so much cricket that playing any format is special. We have to make sure we are winning games as when it comes to that World Cup we could be in a pretty tough group. I know the other two formats are important but any England game is important’.
Wood wants to improve on his performance
Since Wood is one of the top stars on the squad, he needs to step up. He also knows that Sri Lanka is a dangerous team since they’ve produced some good players over the years. Wood recalls a time when he was younger when he saw Sri Lanka as a top team in the cricket scene.
When he was playing against New Zealand in the Test format, Wood made sure he made improvements across the board. He wants to keep the momentum going not only for himself but for his teammates across every format he plays in.
‘I have strung a few games together and in the Test matches I think I kept my pace up well’, Wood said. ‘It's good to see I'm playing and performing. Contributing to us winning games is what it's all about. I am a bit more mature now and can say my body isn't quite feeling right rather than pushing through it to play another game. I am in a good physical and mental space’.
Can England keep the momentum going across all formats?
England is one of the best cricket teams out there in every format. However, they have struggled to cement their place atop the food chain because they’ve had some injuries and underperforming games too. Hopefully, they can work out their injury issues soon to get the possible players but they also need to work on their system to fix the squad.
With massive series against India and the Ashes coming up, they need to look back on their mistakes and work on them properly. This is a sentiment Wood echoes and he also made a point about the safety of all the English players involved.
‘The Ashes is a massive deal and we want to try and win so we don't want any distractions’, Wood said. ‘We want to be clear on what we are doing, whether it's four months in a bubble or slightly different’.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out because Sri Lanka will be a good test for England. An ODI is a good indicator of how the Three Lions perform under pressure. It will be a big match but with the likes of Wood performing well, you should expect a classic Three Lions run for the rest of 2021.
Words: Cholo Martin