Plunkett ‘keeps grafting’ for a Test spot


England all-rounder Liam Plunkett is hoping to make the most of his recall to the ODI side, determined to make sure his efforts put him back in contention for a Test place against Pakistan next month.

Plunkett was picked for the ODIs against Sri Lanka ahead of Steve Finn, and has been eye-catching with bat and ball in the first three matches. He hit the six that tied the first match, and took three wickets in the abandoned third match.

But he's not been able to get into the starting XI with the red ball, sitting on the sidelines or carrying drinks during many a tour without getting game time. But he hopes his behind the scenes efforts pay off.

He said on the Cricket Australia website: "It was frustrating in the winter, involved in the Tests and not playing, and then in the one-day set-up.

"I've played long enough now to realise you just keep grafting, and then when you get your chance you've got to take it.

"I enjoy being around the squad, even though I want to play. It's not the worst place to be, even if you're 12th or 13th man.

"It gives you time to work on stuff. So when you get the nod, you've got the skills.

"They obviously liked what they saw [from me] in the Twenty20 World Cup, and they've backed me in this format.

"You get clarity to run up and hit the pitch, and that's what I do."

Of his Test ambitions, the Yorkshire paceman added that he hoped the selectors could see how much he'd improved, especially in terms of consistency, and would look to keep putting his hand up in the coming weeks.

He added: "You still want to play Test cricket. I'll probably still want to play Test cricket when I'm 38.

"After this series, I'll go back and try to perform for Yorkshire with the red ball. If you get the nod, perfect; if not, you just keep cracking away.

"I want to cement my place in this team, and still push for a Test spot, but we'll see what happens.

"I feel like I'm more consistent now. It's not like I'm wild and erratic – I feel like I can control it."

The first Test against Pakistan starts on 14 July at Lord's. James Anderson is an injury doubt already, so Plunkett could well be on that team sheet.