Mark Wood column: Coronavirus, Tiger King & dancing

Mark Wood

There are times when professional sportsmen and women exist in our own bubble.

Yes, we work incredibly hard, but there's no escaping the fact that we are privileged to get paid for doing something we love.

The coronavirus crisis has burst that bubble. Instead of thinking about fitness, performance or the next match, our concerns are exactly the same as everyone else's.

It's a scary time, one that has made me anxious for the health of my family and friends. I've worried about my parents and grandparents.

I've got friends who work in the NHS and it's so sad to hear what they are going through, along with all the stress that is being put on hospitals.

Just because I play cricket for England doesn't make me immune from the challenges the whole country is facing.

I've queued up outside the supermarket and I've shaved my head because I'm not sure when I'll next be able to get a haircut.

There are, though, some advantages to the enforced period of lockdown.

We spend so much time away from home, but we've now got a valuable opportunity to be with our families.

In this column, I'll tell you how I've been filling my time, including Tiger King, Peloton and a sexy kitten.

'Changing a nappy in full kit'

Like everyone, I'm doing my best to stay physically and mentally fresh.

England have sent us watches that track running, and each player has an individual programme. I've learnt that there is absolutely no way to cheat the system - even moving my arm around really fast doesn't work.

I've been doing online cycling sessions with James Anderson and Stuart Broad, with those two veterans leaving me behind. I've asked the strength coach why I can't keep up, but he was too polite to say it is because I have legs like a tiny sparrow.

When a big group of us did the same thing, Jos Buttler was a machine. I asked him how he did it and he said 'that's just my event'.

I haven't quite figured out what my event is yet, but it could be dancing.

You might have seen my performance on social media, which came from a challenge Joe Denly posted in our WhatsApp group.

Except for nights out in Newcastle, I haven't done much dancing, so this routine required a few rehearsals.

I had an hour or so in the garden - I'm very pleased the neighbours weren't out there to watch - coached by my wife, Sarah.

She wasn't happy with the 'beef toe' section, but I've had a lot of messages about my 'sexy kitten'. It's my view that everyone should let out their inner sexy kitten.

On the subject of cats, we have binge-watched Tiger King, getting through it all in the space of two days. Now that's done, I'll move on to the new series of Brooklyn 99 and The Lost Kingdom.

I've been trying to have a go at every challenge that's come my way, either from the lads or social media.

Perhaps the strangest came when Jonny Bairstow tagged me in something on Instagram.

It involved changing my son Harry's nappy in full cricket kit - pads, gloves, helmet, everything.

I'm not one to shy away, so I gave it a go. I even pulled on all the gear I wore in the World Cup final, right down to the armguard and chestguard.

It turns out all that protective gear is actually quite useful when it comes to changing nappies, even if the gloves make the tabs a bit fiddly.

'If it doesn't heal now, it never will'

Before the coronavirus crisis ramped up, I had the disappointment of being ruled out of the tour to Sri Lanka.

That doesn't seem so important now, not only because of the bigger problems in the world, but the Tests were postponed anyway.

However, at the time, I didn't want to see all the headlines about me being injured again, so Sarah, Harry and I got away to the Lake District for a few days.

The side injury is similar to what I suffered in the World Cup final, just not quite as a severe. It was my own fault it happened.

I felt it in the second Twenty20 in South Africa, but thought I would be OK to play in the third game. It only made it miles worse.

I know there will be people out there wondering if I can ever get on the field for a long period of time without getting injured.

From my point of view, there are some really encouraging signs. I played a lot of cricket in the World Cup, then in South Africa I was able to play back-to-back Tests.

It's great when I hear captain Joe Root talk about me being part of the plans for the next Ashes tour, so I'll be doing everything I can to be on that plane in the winter of 2021.

After all, if my side doesn't heal during a period of lockdown, it never will.

Mark Wood was speaking to BBC Sport's Stephan Shemilt.

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