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Wood hails "unbelievable" campaign

Mark Wood speaks to ecb.co.uk about his involvement in Durham's LV=County Championship success

There were many young players who enjoyed fruitful campaigns in Durham’s LV= County Championship-winning side and Mark Wood was definitely one of them.

The 23-year-old seamer appeared eight times and took 27 wickets – including a career-best 5-44 against Surrey at the Emirates Durham ICG – as the north-east county lifted the Division One title for the third time in six seasons.

An injury may have kept him out of the last few games, but he was immensely proud of his first championship win.

“(It was an) unbelievable feeling,” he told ecb.co.uk. “To win, especially with a game to go, was a great feeling and there were some great celebrations after.

“Although we did win the championship twice before, this was a totally different team. It’s been great to have a lot of local lads in the team this year. We’ve got a great togetherness and team morale.”

The only frustration for Wood was missing out on the run-in due to an ankle injury. He last appeared in the crucial victory over runners-up Yorkshire at Scarborough.

“I would have probably played more if I hadn’t got injured towards the back end of the year so that was disappointing," he said.

“To be able to play in the last few games would have been what I’d have wanted to do.”

Born and raised in Ashington, Wood has had inevitable comparisons with Steve Harmison.

Mark Wood in action during Durham's successful 2013 campaign. The 23-year-old took 27 wickets in his eight appearancesBut while the recently-retired Harmison has been a big influence on his career, it is another Durham pace bowler and England international that the youngster likens himself to.

“I’m more like (Graham) Onions, a skiddy type of bowler,” he said. “I try to bowl more at the stumps.

“Harmy has always been good to me and he’s given me advice on a lot of things.

“When I was younger he gave me advice on going to Australia to better my game and little advice with the ball and things like that.

“There’s plenty of advice around the dressing room, you’ve got Paul Collingwood, Graham Onions, (bowling coach) Alan Walker; it’s all about taking little bits off who you can and making yourself better.”

Wood’s next step in his quest for improvement is spending the winter with the England Performance Programme.

He will spend the coming months training in this country rather than travelling to Australia, working on his strength and conditioning in a big to boost his talents.

“I’m built like Graham Onion so I’m trying to be built a bit bigger and stronger!” he said. “(It will) help with injury prevention.

“I had a good winter in Australia where I did a lot of strength work and I came back at the start of the summer big and strong and it helped with my pace.

“It’s obviously hard to keep doing strength during the season but I think a good off-season here with England could potentially help me bowl a bit quicker.”

And his long-term ambition? Well, that’s an easy one.

“I’d love to play Test match cricket,” he said. “Who wouldn’t? That’s what you grow up wanting to do; you want to play Test matches for England and I’m no different.”

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