Wood flies home to see ankle specialist
Mark Wood is flying home early from England's tour of the UAE to see a specialist about the left ankle problem that forced him to sit out the third Test against Pakistan. He will miss the ODI and T20 legs of the tour, which begin in Abu Dhabi next week, with his place in the squad being taken by Liam Plunkett.
Wood, whose energetic delivery stride has caused discomfort in his ankle joint for several months, has previously admitted that he may require surgery to rectify the issue. He required a cortisone injection to get through last summer's Ashes win over Australia, and missed the third Test at Edgbaston before returning for the final two matches.
He received a second injection during the Pakistan series, having claimed six wickets in 62.5 overs across the first two Tests, including his best Test figures of 3 for 39 in the first innings in Dubai. However, the England management opted not to risk him for the series decider, with Samit Patel instead earning a recall to complete a three-spinner attack.
"Mark Wood's ankle condition is well known and while we have managed his workloads over the summer and during the Test series against Pakistan it has been decided that the sensible course of action is to seek further advice from a specialist," said James Whitaker, the national selector. "We will then be able to consider how to ensure Mark is able to perform at his very best in an England shirt going forward.
"Liam Plunkett will replace Wood in both squads and, having featured in the ODI side last summer, his inclusion provides Eoin Morgan and Trevor Bayliss with an experienced pace bowling option in the squad."
With the Test tour of South Africa looming next month, England now have concerns over three of the seamers who played a role in last summer's Ashes win. Steven Finn is currently recovering from a stress-related foot injury while Ben Stokes batted with some discomfort but did not bowl or field in the second innings in Sharjah after damaging his collarbone.
England begin their preparations for the one-day leg of the UAE tour with a 50-over match against Hong Kong in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, while the four match ODI series against Pakistan starts on Wednesday.