Right-arm fast bowler, Mark Wood has come out and stated that England has the confidence now to nullify any kind of threat that Indian wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav possesses and need to make sure they don't allow him to strike early in the ODI series decider at Headingley.
Kuldeep has been brilliant in England so far and has made a match-winning impact on the tour. Having grabbed 5/24 in the first T20I at the Old Trafford, he followed this with 6/25 in the first ODI of the ongoing series at Trent Bridge that laid the foundation to India's dominating win. He also took 3/68 in India's 86 runs loss at Lord's in the second ODI.
Ahead of the series decider in Leeds, Wood was quoted saying, “It’s definitely a plus point for our players to bat well against him (Kuldeep; in the second match). I know he still took wickets but we managed to get some runs against him and put him under a little bit of pressure,”
“I think the main thing is he keeps getting wickets in his first over. So I think that’s the key going into this game. If he gets a wicket in early overs his confidence is up. So if we can try to nullify that wicket-taking option that he’s got straight away, then hopefully we can shift the momentum against him to us,”
Wood believes that the momentum is right back with Eoin Morgan's men and said, “Momentum is the right word. There was disappointment after the first game. We knew what we needed to address to get the second game right. It was a big performance in that game, a great win. Eoin Morgan keeps the side pretty even making sure highs are not too high or lows too low. We knew we needed to get better. It was not doom and gloom. We just knew what we needed to get better,”
“I think for Test match side of things, it is great to get certain people out or get runs against them but it is more of impact for World Cup. If we can use this game as a semi-final, or a final, a must-win with the pressure on we can learn what we are doing wrong if we don’t win or what we are doing right if we do win. Over the past year we have dealt with these situations well and hopefully, we can carry on that trend tomorrow,”
Reiterating that England aren't taking the pressure of the occasion, Wood added, “It doesn’t feel like a do-or-die game. I mean we’re trying to treat it like that but it just feels like another game. It’s a big game against a very good team and we want to try and impress. I wouldn’t say it’s much different, it’s the same stuff."
“It is two very good sides, so when one is on top they are really on top. We have a few batsmen down the order who can score quickly. David Willey came in the other day when it was a little bit sticky and he managed to really press on. So I think big games call for big players. I definitely know Virat Kohli will be right up for it and he’s the biggest of all. So if they’re right up for it, we’ve got to make sure we are at the same intensity and level that they are,”
(Inputs from Indian Express)