Durham Jets’ Mark Wood (left) celebrates with Durham Jets Keaton Jennings.

England paceman Mark Wood is fit and says he has “fire in his belly” as he prepares for the County Championship season with Durham.

Wood underwent an ankle operation over the winter, but took part in the pre-season North v South series in Abu Dhabi.

Wood said: “I was really, really happy, selfishly, coming off the back of that trip. Confidence-wise, to be able to slam my foot down and let go of the ball with some decent pace on it was brilliant for me and felt like I was almost back to my old self.”

And Wood revealed he is also targeting an England return in time for the ICC Champions Trophy, which takes place on home soil this summer.

He said: “That’s firmly in my mind, that’s somewhere I want to get to. I know if I start the season well then I’ll be there or thereabouts. I like to think that I can offer something different to the England side.”

Durham coach Jon Lewis also backed Wood for a return to the national side, saying: “If he gets going well with us I’d imagine he’s not far from those ODIs against Ireland. It would be great if he could be pulling on an England shirt again.”

Wood also spoke about the harsh ECB sanctions imposed on Durham in the winter, and how the squad is fired up to make an immediate return to Division 1.

“It gives you motivation I guess; fire in my belly that we can use in the dressing room; that sense of injustice. Typically Durham have done well when we’ve got our backs up against the wall so I’d like to think that with a good start to the season we can really believe that we can do something special.”