Mark Wood could make his England return in place of the injured Tymal Mills for their T20 World Cup clash against South Africa, according to assistant coach Paul Collingwood.
Fast bowler Wood has yet to feature in the tournament due to an ankle injury, but could come into the side for Saturday’s match against the Proteas on a Sharjah surface that is likely to suit his bowling.
Left-armer Mills pulled up while bowling during Monday’s win against Sri Lanka and has since been ruled out of the rest of the tournament, with Reece Topley added to the squad in his place.
Although the Surrey seamer, along with David Willey, gives England another left-arm option, Collingwood hinted that Wood may be given the nod for the South Africa game, which is live on Sky Sports Cricket from 1.30pm.
He said: “(Mills) is a huge loss but another person’s gain. It looks positive with Mark Wood, he’s had a session bowling.
“As long as he comes through these next two sessions, I’d hope he’d be available for selection.
“What seems to have been difficult to play in Sharjah is the real fast skiddy bowlers that bash the wicket from about eight metres, try to hit the top of the stumps and get a little bit of variable bounce there.
“If Woody was 100 per cent fit, then he’s the type of bowler you would look for on that surface.”
Barring a colossal swing on run-rate, England will qualify for the semi-finals even if they fail to overcome South Africa – having won their first four games in the group.
Collingwood was captain of the only England side to win the trophy to date, when they beat Australia in 2010, and he feels there are similarities between that team and the current crop of players.
“In 2010 the bowling unit understood its roles, it got a system, a strategy that worked,” added Collingwood. “It seems that the bowlers in this tournament have found a strategy and all the bowlers understand their roles in the side.
“I’m delighted with the way we’ve gone about it with the ball and our fielding. I think we’re gaining momentum.
“Each victory you keep learning, keep understanding the surfaces that you’re playing on, and play smart cricket.
“I’m really delighted where we are at the moment but I don’t think we’ve delivered our best game as yet.
“I think there are some improvements to be made, but hopefully those perfect games come later on in the tournament.”
Watch England take on South Africa in the T20 World Cup, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 1.30pm on Saturday.