Lancashire fast bowler Luke Wood will reportedly make his One-Day International debut for England in the Netherlands on Friday. However, many people question this decision since the 26-year-old has not played a competitive 50-over game in over three years. This is a significant moment for the Nottinghamshire-native, who will be part of the first white-ball squad of Matthew Mott.
Wood, a part of the England Under-19 team in 2015, has been on the country’s radar for some time. Earlier this year, he was also a reserve for the country’s T20I series in Barbados. His inclusion highlights the dwindling importance of 50-over cricket in the country.
When the England squad was announced, Mott praised the consistency of Wood, who has been consistent for his county, Lancashire. However, the left-handed Wood didn’t mention that he has not played a competitive 50-over game for the Red Rose.
Wood’s lack of opportunities at competitive 50-over game
Since making his List A debut in 2016, Wood has only played three more professional 50-over matches. The lack of first-team opportunities at Nottinghamshire and the uncertainty surrounding his future at the county were some factors that led to his decision to leave. He has also only worn the Red Rose in limited-overs cricket.
Since Wood arrived at Old Trafford, none of England’s white-ball players has played a competitive 50-over game. The Royal London Cup was also cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic outbreak, and the Hundred clashed with the competition in 2021. The PCA is pushing for a change in the schedule next year, but it will be hard to find a solution due to the current situation.
According to Wood, the lack of international tournaments and the Hundred simultaneously have affected the players’ schedules. Unless something changes, the lack of competitive 50-over cricket will continue to be a regular feature.
“I know that I haven’t played a 50-over game for three years,” Wood said. “With the Hundred and the 50-over comp going on at the same time, a lot of people in the frame won’t have played a lot of 50-over cricket recently unless it’s at international level. If you look at the schedule, it’s probably something you’ll see more and more of, unless something changes.”
England’s solution to lack of competitive 50-over game
Due to the lack of competitive 50-over games, England has had to look for players who can fill the various roles. Wood and Brydon Carse have been identified as potential attacking threats in the middle overs, despite both playing in the county’s T20 Blast.
England could still cope with the situation by playing a domestic schedule that didn’t coincide with the international game. During the 2010 and 2013 seasons, counties were allowed to play a 40-over List A tournament instead of a 50-over game. This allowed young players such as Jos Buttler and Jason Roy to develop.
The shorter version of the game allowed the young players to play a more attacking style. It also resulted in the formation of a more attacking playing style under Eoin Morgan. In his book, Nathan Leamon, an analyst for England’s white-ball team, said that the change in the playing style was a happy accident.
Despite the play style change, the lack of competitive matches has still been a concern for the England and Wales Cricket Board. The organization is working on developing opportunities for talented players.