Mark Wood set to unleash bouncer attack on Shane Watson
England’s emerging pacer Mark Wood has signaled his intentions of welcoming Australian all-rounder Shane Watson with a barrage of short balls.
Elaborating on his plans, the 25-year-old Wood, recollected a fond memory from Australia’s 2009 Ashes tour, when he was one of the net bowlers who had bowled to Watson.
"I had a famous incident with (Watson) in the Durham nets," Wood recalled on BBC Radio 5 Live.
"I remember Michael Hussey asking me to bounce Watson – to which I wasn't going to say no.
“I let him have one, he's gloved it, and he didn't give me the best of looks.”
Amused by Wood’s pace and bounce, former Australian batsman Michael Hussey egged the young pacer to have a go at Watson again with the short ball ploy in 2009.
However, Watson was better prepared the next time around for the bumper and Wood clearly remembers how the session ended.
"Next ball, Hussey said: "Give it him again", so I've bumped him again, and this time he's absolutely smoked it.
“He picked up the ball, threw it back down the wicket at me, called me a "net hero", and said that he would like to have a go at me.”
It’s been six years since that incident and Wood is pumped up to bowl his first international delivery at Watson during the upcoming Ashes series.
Watson may have had the last laugh during the net session in 2009 but Wood isn’t going to back off from the challenge.
"Well, he's going to get his chance, so I'd like to have a go at Shane Watson one more time.
“Let's hope he remembers me, because he's going to get a few more bumpers."
Wood is likely to be picked as the third specialist pacer behind James Anderson and Stuart Broad for the first Ashes Test in Cardiff.
Despite being the least experienced of the English pacers, Wood believes that being the unknown entity may well prove to be an advantage for him.
"I'd like to think a few of the Australians don't know much about us and aren't looking forward to facing me," Wood said.
"I'll certainly stand up for myself if the Australians have a go.
“I won't be taking a backward step, but I'll still be trying to have some fun."
Like most fast bowlers, Wood too has suffered from injuries that have limited him to just 26 first-class matches since his debut in 2011.
While he is aware of his fitness concerns, Wood also claimed to have improved his work ethics over the years.
As he gets ready to play his first ever Ashes Test next month, Wood is quietly confident about his bowling skills.
"I would describe myself as a wicket-taker, a skiddy and athletic bowler," said Wood.
"I've accepted the fact I've had injuries because I was developing as a bowler and developing as a bloke.
"I've always been a slight lad and, in the last couple of years, looking after my body has stood me in good stead.
"People might be shocked that I have been picked for England, but I always felt that if I could stay on the park, I would do well."
Wood, has played two Tests for England claiming nine wickets at an average of 33.22, although his economy was slightly on the higher side.
© Cricket World 2015