Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport’s live coverage of the first day of the fifth and final Ashes Test between England and Australia in Hobart.
It was an unfamiliar feel at Hobart’s Bellerive Oval as England’s Mark Wood addressed the media on the eve of the final Ashes Test (Isabelle Westbury writes). Unfamiliar because it’s both the venue’s first Ashes match and its first Test with a pink ball. And while playing Test cricket for your country will occupy the players’ minds first and foremost, even if the series is long gone, there’s much to look ahead to as well.
Like this year’s Indian Premier League. Wood, who regularly reaches bowling speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour, is a lucrative commodity on the white ball circuit, just as he is spearheading England’s red-ball attack. And with Mitchell Starc, who has a prolific record in day-night cricket, already suggesting that the pink ball closely mirrors the effect of the white ball, if Wood can put in a good stint at Hobart, England’s paceman could see his stock quickly rise.
“I am [entering the IPL auction] at the minute,” Wood confirmed, ahead of the final Test. The deadline for players to register for the auction is the end of this week, with the IPL set to run over April and May.
“If I look ahead to the World Cup and I can learn something in the IPL, if I can put myself in pressure situations and try and get better for the end of the year, that’ll be good.”
“I withdrew just before,” Wood explained, of his decision not to play in last year’s IPL. “I was umming and ahhing but felt that, with a long time away…
“From a financial side of things, it’s great to go in. But actually, the reason I’d want to go in [this year’s IPL auction] is cricketing reasons because of what’s to come with England. I just felt the reason I’d have gone last year was purely financial and the time I’d miss with my son I’d never get back.”