CRICKET : Liam Plunkett traces his return to the England reckoning back to his call-up for last spring’s Lions tour to New Zealand.
Liam Plunkett traces his return to the England reckoning back to his call-up for last spring’s Lions tour to New Zealand.
Plunkett is already in England’s Test plans this winter and in the frame too to add to his 27 one-day international caps, after being summoned from the Performance Programme as cover for the injured Stuart Broad.
“Last year, I went to New Zealand with the Lions,” he recalls. “There, a team captained by Robert Key drew two unofficial four-day Tests against New Zealand A. Getting that call-up really helped me – and soon I was happy with the way things were working.”
He added: “My batting, as well as my bowling, has started to get better.”
It was all a far cry from the months immediately following the last of his previous international appearances, in June 2007.
But he believes he subsequently discovered the “new Liam Plunkett” – thanks to honesty with himself about his preparations and approach to his career.
The consequence is that he is impatient to prove himself at the highest level again.
“I want to be pushing to play, in the one-dayers now as well as the Tests,” he said.
“I don’t want to be carrying the drinks.”
Meanwhile Chris Nash is to return home from England’s Performance Programme, in Pretoria, to have surgery on a thumb he has broken in practice. The Sussex batsman will not be replaced in the squad, which is due to stay in South Africa until December 17.