Multan [Pakistan], December 9 (ANI): England pacer Mark Wood will be replacing an injured all-rounder Liam Livingstone in the second Test against Pakistan at Multan, which will be starting from Friday.
Ollie Pope, England's number three batter will be keeping the wickets again and Ben Foakes would sit out. Will Jacks will also retain his position in the side after a stunning six-fer in the first Test.
Wood had missed the first Test due to a hip injury sustained during the ICC T20 World Cup, which was also England's first in Pakistan in 17 years. The visitors won by 74 runs. He will be replacing Livingstone, who will miss the remainder of the tour due to knee injury.
The 32-year-old, who played a vital role in England's ICC T20 World Cup triumph back in November with a total of nine wickets, will boost the pace attack consisting of Ben Stokes, James Anderson and Ollie Robinson. Jacks and Joe Root will serve as backup to lead spinner Jack Leach.
Notably, Wood has not played a Test since March 2022, when England squared off against West Indies due to an injury that caused him to miss the bulk of Test summer.
England skipper Ben Stokes said that Wood's inclusion will add to his side's ability to take 20 wickets in a place like Pakistan, where it is difficult to win.
"Having someone in your squad who can bowl 150 kmh is a massive bonus for any team around the world, especially out here with Pakistan being a very hard place to come and win," said Stokes as quoted by Sky Sports.
"Having someone of Woody's calibre and what he brings, the way in which he bowls, is going to be massive for us. He is going to add to our ability to take 20 wickets," added the skipper.
In Foakes' absence, Pope wore the keeping gloves in the first Test and performed well to retain the position.
Stokes said, "The communication to Ben [Foakes] was that the real positive for him to take out of this selection is that it is just for this Test match. Foakesy still is the number-one gloveman in England and I will still keep saying it that he is the best keeper in the world."
"It must sound a bit silly to not be picking him, but you have got to look at the conditions we face out here. Pakistan is a very hard place to come and bowl."
"Adding Wood into the side gives us the best opportunity to take 20 wickets. That is what we came here to do. We came here to try and win games of cricket."
"We want to keep continuing to press the way that we play and we felt bringing Woody into the team was the best opportunity for us to do that out here in this specific Test match," concluded Stokes.
Jacks was given his Test debut just minutes before the first Test as Foakes could not recover from illness that had rocked the English camp before the match.
The 24-year-old managed handy scores of 30 and 24 in the match and also took a six-fer, with Livingstone unable to bowl.
Stokes said that with the threat of early-morning fog and fading light at the end of the day potentially cutting short the number of overs, his side could be even more adventurous.
"In this Test, if it does pan out the way that it could potentially, with the late start and early finish, we could end up having only 300-350 overs. We might have to get even a bit more adventurous with what we do. We will see," said Stokes.
"When I got the opportunity to lead England out I wanted to do it in a way which I thought could work and the lads have responded really well to that," added Stokes, who has led his team to seven wins from eight Tests so far.
"Test cricket has been pigeonholed for so long, for such a long time as to how it should be played, how you need to operate, how you prepare."
"Everyone's played enough cricket and understands their game enough that if you just give the responsibility to the individual to get ready, why cannot [aggressive cricket] it work? Why not?" concluded Stokes. (ANI)