Mark Wood praised Ben Stokes’ mature captaincy style on his return to the Test arena after briefly contemplating a switch to white-ball only cricket a few months ago.
The fast bowler was England’s highest wicket taker in a dismal Ashes series last winter, but missed the start of the national side’s red-ball revolution under Stokes and Brendon McCullum after having elbow surgery.
The 32-year-old returned for England’s T20 World Cup success, but the demands of Test cricket are an entirely different proposition for a fast bowler.
However, his two wickets in the morning session on the fourth day of England’s second Test against Pakistan at Multan sparked a collapse which handed the tourists a series victory with a match to spare.
Wood was pleased he stuck with Test cricket and was relieved his return did not stop England’s fine form in the format.
When asked if had doubted whether he would return to Test cricket, Wood replied: “Not really, well in fact, yes. At some my point my body will say that it’s the way to go but I didn’t prepare for white ball, I prepared for all cricket.
“I desperately wanted to experience all this, with Stokesy and Brendon, so I’m pleased I’ve stuck with it. And I’m pleased we won here. I’d have been gutted if we’d won, I’d come in, and we’d lost. They’d have been pointing fingers at me!”
England continued their revival under Stokes to seal a historic victory in Pakistan – the team had never won two Tests in the same tour of the country before.
Under Stokes England have won eight Tests and lost just one, a far cry from their record before the change of leadership where they had just one victory in 17 matches.
Wood was full of praise for the England captain and his Durham team-mate, hailing his development over the years.
He said: “It’s weird, the lad I grew up with… Stokesy now is much more mature, he speaks so well. He’s always had a fantastic cricket brain.
“But the way he comes across, the way he conducts himself and the messages that he gives, he’s just so much more rounded than when we were growing up.
“He was this alpha guy who would whack it, never back down. He’s still got all that, but he’s got other sides to him now.
“He’ll put an arm round people, express what he means really articulately – I didn’t think he had some of the words in his locker. But he’s been world class to be fair.”