Plunkett appreciates Test match lifeline

England

England all-rounder Liam Plunkett is cherishing the renewal of a Test match career punctuated by a seven-year absence.

England all-rounder Liam Plunkett is cherishing the renewal of a Test match career punctuated by a seven-year absence.

Plunkett had not played the longest format of the international game since 2007 prior to this month's recall for the two-match series against Sri Lanka at Lord's and Headingley.

The proud recipient of an entertaining 39-run innings and two key wickets in the series opener in London, the 29-year-old is determined to build on the momentum in Leeds, where team-mate Ian Bell will earn a 100th Test match cap.

"I'd love to be approaching my 100th Test, like Bell. But it wasn't meant to be, and that's my fault," said Plunkett. "I was young then, in 2007, and I didn't know my game too well.

"I would turn up day by day just hoping for the best and try to pitch it up, so I could nick a few off. But I've got clarity in my role now. It went worse for me when I started thinking about it too much."

A move from Durham to Yorkshire in Division One of the County Championship has certainly helped the right-armer seamer's progress. Coach Jason Gillespie has had a particularly positive influence on him.

"Jason gave me clarity. Once I got that I think I excelled. As soon as I got the backing, I felt comfortable – and playing 18 months' straight cricket now, I feel better about my game," added Plunkett. "I didn't really know what kind of bowler I was.

"But I know what I am now. I run in and hit the pitch hard and back myself to do that. Different coaches told me different things – and when you're a youngster you're like a sponge and take a lot of things in.

"I think you learn when you're older to filter stuff in and out. If it's good advice you can keep it and take it with you – but if it's not you can say 'no thanks'. I think I've learned to do that a bit better and just back myself."

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