Saturday, February 13, 2010
The first time I saw Liam Plunkett about say five or so years back I thought a star is born as he could swing it at good pace and bowl those lovely outswingers. He showed his worth in the CB series in Australia in 06/07 as he bowled some dream spells to help England to surprisingly win the tri-nation trophy. The Ashes had been won by the Aussies and that too it was a drubbing as England lost 5-0 and the team had already suffered huge defeats in the tri-series, so it was remarkable that Colly, Plunkett and co. played so well to help England to win the trophy. I still remember those outswingers in the finals that he bowled to Hodge and Ponting. It swung so late that both batsmen had no option but to edge it though Hodge was dropped in the slips. His inswiging yorker to Gilly was good too. So at that time it looked like a bright future awaited Plunkett.
Naturally a lot was expected from Plunkett when he was selected to play for England during the summer of 2007 against the Caribbean team but that was the time it all started to go wrong for the young man. His action seemed to have changed from side on to front on by the so called expert, Shine and as a result he was struggling to get that outswinger going. To be honest it looked like he was following in the footsteps of the wayward Harmsion against the Caribbean team and soon enough he got injured. I would never understand as to why those coaches change a bowler's action for the sake of it. Jimmy Anderson suffered because of it and Plunkett too suffered from that change in action. During that time I even thought he may never play again for England.
For any young player it is a testing time when he is struggling for form and fitness but thankfully Plunkett has come back with a new vigour and has been included in the England side for the tour of Bangladesh. He has gone back to his old action, seems to have matured as a person and took 60 wickets at just 23.35 in CC in 2009. His exploits in CC helped him to get back into the national reckoning as he got selected for the tout of South Africa. He didn't get the chance to play in the test matches but it was good to see him back in the test squad.
Now England are embarking on a tour to Bangladesh and Anderson has been rested as he is having problems with his knee. Anderson has done well for England in the last two years but as he is not fit he needs a rest. England need a fit Anderson as bigger challenges are coming up in the foreseeable future as there is another Ashes series looming on the horizon and the world cup is going to be held in 2011. Anderson being rested has also given a chance for fringe players like Plunkett to show their worth. IMHO the future of England's quick bowling is in the hands of bowlers like Plunkett, Finn, Rankin and co. and not the unfit, Sidebottom and it has to be said that Siders is now almost 32. So it is imperative that whenever these youngsters are included they are given a decent run in the side.
Finally I do hope the talented, Plunkett gets his chance in Bangladesh and gets a bagful of wickets. If he gets his confidence back Aussies should better watch out for Pudsey!