After a successful training session in Sharjah on Thursday, Mark Wood seems likely to replace Tymal Mills in England’s last T20 World Cup Super 12s match against South Africa on Saturday. Wood has not participated in the competition so far due to a niggle in his ankle that required an injection following England’s final warm-up game against New Zealand. He did not warm up with the rest of the team before Monday’s 26-run win against Sri Lanka, during which Mills suffered the thigh injury that has kept him out of the tournament, but if he exercises as scheduled on Friday, he might play against South Africa this weekend.

“Wood would be a “perfect alternative” for Mills if he is certified completely fit”, according to England’s assistant coach Paul Collingwood, “especially considering the low bounce of Sharjah’s pitches since the square was relaid ahead of this year’s IPL.”

Collingwood remarked, “What appears to have been difficult to play in Sharjah is the real fast, skiddy bowlers who batter the wicket from about eight metres and attempt to hit the top of the stumps and get a little bit of variable bounce there. If Woody were 100 percent fit, he’d be the kind of bowler you’d want on that surface.”

“When the dew poured down, it seemed to make things a lot more difficult. In the second innings, I was anticipating a lot more variable bounce, but the dew had an impact on the surface. If Woody were 100 percent fit, he would be the ideal substitute. I’m hoping he’ll be available for selection if he makes it through the next two sessions.”

Mills was expensive in England’s last two games against Australia and Sri Lanka, but he is still the World Cup’s joint-highest wicket-taker, and he offered an appealing combination of a left-arm angle, high pace through the middle overs, and a world-class record bowling at the death in franchise leagues.