Coronavirus: Wood fears loss of future cricket stars

PUBLISHED: 07:43 25 June 2020 | UPDATED: 07:43 25 June 2020

Ben Stokes (left) and Mark Wood celebrate with the ICC World Cup ahead of a Vitality Blast T20 match at Emirates Riverside

Ben Stokes (left) and Mark Wood celebrate with the ICC World Cup ahead of a Vitality Blast T20 match at Emirates Riverside

PA Archive/PA Images

Mark Wood fears England could be deprived of the next Ben Stokes or Joe Root if the interruption to the recreational season because of the coronavirus pandemic extends much further into the summer.

International cricket is set to resume on July 8 when England host the first of three Tests against the West Indies behind closed doors at the Ageas Bowl while pubs, restaurants and cinemas can reopen four days earlier.

Basketball and tennis courts will open up on July 4, too, but club cricket peculiarly remains on hold after Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the ball as a “natural vector of disease”.

Discussions between the England and Wales Cricket Board and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport are ongoing behind the scenes and it is hoped there will be a positive resolution soon.

For someone like Wood, who cut his teeth at Ashington Cricket Club and still holds strong ties there, it represents a pressing issue as he does not want to see potential stars of the future turning to other sports in the interim.

“Safety first is paramount and cricket took its time on the backburner, rightly so with everything else going on,” said Wood, who has been supporting children to get active through cricket as part of Yorkshire Tea National Cricket Week – a week of fun, online activities for children at home or at school from the national cricket charity Chance to Shine.

“But you just feel that with pubs and restaurants opening, I don’t see how cricket is so far away from that.

“Being a non-contact sport, the examples we’re trying to show at international level, there must be something they can do around the ball at grassroots level because we don’t want to miss out on the next Ben Stokes, Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer.

“Cricket clubs across the country are desperate for some cricket, just to keep that cricket club alive. I know that my home club, Ashington, are itching to get back out there.

“It is important that we get as many people involved in the game as we can, especially at grassroots level with everything that’s going on, you don’t want to lose potential cricketers to other sports.”

Wood is part of England’s training group that assembled at Southampton earlier this week but, despite stellar displays in two of his last three Tests, he believes he is not part of England’s first-choice side at home.

He reignited his Test career with one of the most rapid and hostile spells ever witnessed by an Englishman in recording his first international five-for against the Windies in St Lucia last year.

In his most recent Test outing he finished with match figures of 9-100 against South Africa at Johannesburg over the winter.

But with James Anderson and Archer set to return from injury to bolster the bowling line-up, Wood added: “I know I put in probably my best performance in the last game, I don’t see myself being in the best XI in home conditions.

“I’d love to be, and I’ll push as hard as I can to keep my spot but I’m thinking in home conditions I’m maybe not the first name on the team sheet. But we’ll see what happens.”

Wood, an ebullient member of the England team, is adapting to his new surroundings as he faces a long time away from home, saying: “I packed pretty much as if I’m going on tour really.”

As for all the precautions at the ‘bio-secure’ venue, Wood added: “It’s almost going a little bit over the top but that’s because we’re trying to make sure everybody is safe and it doesn’t spread quickly like it can do.”

*Yorkshire Tea National Cricket Week works with the charity Chance to Shine to support and grow the grassroots of the game in schools and communities. Join in at

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Latest East London Sports News

Yesterday, 15:00

Boxing is back, after a lockdown lasting longer than expected, with some exciting championship clashes at the BT Studios in east London on Friday.

Yesterday, 14:41

West Ham United Women will have a new training base for the 2020-21 Super League season.

Yesterday, 11:09

West Ham United Women have announced extended contracts for five of their players leading into the 2020-21 season.

Yesterday, 08:00

With the Premier League back in action for the past couple of weeks after more than three months away due to the coronavirus pandemic, why not celebrate with another sports quiz?

Yesterday, 07:27

West Ham boss David Moyes warned his players they might have to fight all the way to the final kick of the season to preserve their Premier League status.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Jonjo Shelvey denied West Ham a crucial victory in their fight for Premier League survival as Newcastle twice came from behind to snatch a point.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

David Moyes admits he cannot begin planning for next season until West Ham have secured their Premier League survival.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

England have named a 13-man squad for their long-awaited return to Test cricket against the West Indies next week, preferring Joe Denly to the uncapped Dan Lawrence and confirming Dom Bess as number one spinner.


The NHS Test and Trace service brings together testing, contact tracing and outbreak management into an end-to-end service to stop the spread of the virus and help us move out of lockdown.

The UK Government has launched a campaign to shine a light on businesses and employees across the country who have responded to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in remarkable ways and are now going back to business.

Veterans are providing vital skills across a range of projects to help the country tackle the current coronavirus outbreak. From helping to build Nightingale Hospitals to delivering essential supplies to those who are shielding, they have helped thousands of people across the country. We take a look at how one such veteran is helping out.

Most read sport

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Most Read

Latest from the East London Advertiser