England bowler Mark Wood admits he will be lining up alongside two players at the Indian Premier League who he has ‘watched on TV and been in awe of’.
Wood was one of eight English players to be snapped up at the auction for the 11th edition of the IPL as he signed a contract worth £166,000 with Chennai Super Kings.
Chennai have been led by India wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni for a number of years and also boast Harbhajan Singh, the legendary Indian spinner, in their ranks.
Wood will also share a dressing room at IPL 2018 with England team-mate Sam Billings, who was a late £110,000 signing for the franchise.
‘I can’t wait,’ Wood told Sky Sports, looking ahead to the tournament, which starts in April. ‘It’s a huge and very successful franchise with some world-class players.
‘The team is a little bit older and full of experienced players I have watched on the TV and been in awe of, such as MS Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh. True Indian greats.
‘We also have some great overseas lads, like Mitchell Santner, and my fellow Englishman Sam Billings, so I can’t want to get out there and try and win games for the club in one of the biggest competitions.’
Wood also weighed in on the debate over who is currently the best batsman in the world. Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Joe Root and Kane Williamson are generally regarded as the top four and Wood agrees.
‘There are four standouts for me,’ the 28-year-old continued. ‘Virat Kohli, who I have not bowled at yet – that will be a major challenge when I do.
‘Steve Smith, who has an awkward style and may not look pretty but gets a large volume of runs.
‘Joe Root, I think, is the best-looking player at the crease – he scores all around the wicket and across all the formats with great freedom.
‘And then there is Kane Williamson, someone I have struggled to bowl at. I don’t know why that is. I know the areas I am trying to land the ball but a lot of the time he has the answers.’