Jon Lewis is resigned to losing fast bowler Mark Wood to England duty this summer.
But the Durham CCC head coach believes that is no bad thing for the county.
While Lewis is loath to lose one of the most potent arms of his Durham attack, he thinks that an England recall for Wood would be just what the 27-year-old deserves, having battled back from potentially career-threatening ankle injuries.
Ahead of tomorrow’s County Championship Division Two opener against Nottinghamshire at Chester-le-Street, Lewis said: “The problem with Woody is that if he bowls well we will not see him. This is the real thing for us.
“But we are hoping that he bowls well. It is good for us when he plays for England. We like to see it.
“If he gets going well with us I can imagine he will not be far away from those ODIs with Ireland. It is the nature of the game – it will be great to see him pulling on an England shirt.”
Wood himself has high hopes of getting back on the international stage.
Since making his England bow back in 2015 he has played just eight out of 28 Tests. He has also been limited to just four one-day internationals.
A recurring ankle problem, which has seen him go under the knife on three separate occasions, has severely limited his time on the international stage.
But with a busy summer of cricket awaiting, including the Champions Trophy in June, Wood, should he navigate his way through the start of the campaign unscathed, is likely to get the call.
“I’m desperate to get back in,” said Wood. “Previously, I neglected the drill side of things. I know I’ve got to do it right. If I get a chance to get back into the England team, I’ll cherish that moment a bit more.”
Wood managed to get through 15 overs – taking five wickets – against Durham University in the curtain-raiser. A little change to his bowling action has been designed to lessen pressure on his left ankle.
And Wood, who for the first time in a long while admits to trusting his body, hopes this will end his injury nightmare of recent years.
“I wasn’t running in thinking, is my ankle going to hurt? I was thinking, I’m going to bash this at the top of off stump as quick as I can,” he said.
“When you can concentrate on what’s happening with the ball rather than with the body, you know you’re in a good place.
“There are one-dayers against Ireland coming up and I’ve got my eye on the Champions Trophy.
“I realise the lads they’ve got are doing really well, so I’ll have to wait my chance. But if I can start well with Durham, hopefully I can show the selectors I can offer something different.”