By Callum Dent
Liam Plunkett believes his England Lions call-up this winter justified the decision to leave Durham and revitalise his career at Yorkshire.
After opting to cut ties with his home county, the 29-year-old performed admirably at Headingley during his debut season in 2013, with his all-round capabilities helping him become a regular starter in all three formats.
Plunkett's most successful competition was the LV= County Championship, where his 394 runs and 36 wickets in 12 matches, at an average of 26 and 28 respectively, helped the White Rose run his former club close for the title.
The performances of the Middlesbrough-born bowling all-rounder, who has won nine Test caps and played 29 one-day internationals for his country, helped him become a Lion for the winter tour of Sri Lanka following Sussex paceman Chris Jordan's elevation to the senior England squad.
"I loved being at Durham, but it was time for a change," he told ecb.co.uk.
"I am so happy I moved. Dizzy (Jason Gillespie) and Martyn (Moxon) have been really good and the guys have been top drawer too.
"I fitted in nicely last year, but I am hoping to improve on my performances.
"I got called up to the Lions squad, which was a surprise. It went well with both bat and ball. It was enjoyable."
Plunkett grasped his opportunity with both hands, impressing in both disciplines on a successful tour for the Lions.
Captained by Warwickshire all-rounder Chris Woakes, the Lions acclimatised to the difficult conditions superbly to win the three-match unofficial Test series against Sri Lanka A 1-0.
And Plunkett, accompanied in the team by fellow Tykes Jonny Bairstow and Alex Lees, contributed to that triumph with 157 runs, at an average of 52, and six wickets.
Plunkett said: "It was nice to get called up and it was nice to perform as well. I enjoyed it with a good bunch of guys.
"We managed to win the Test series, which not a lot of teams have done - especially A teams - over in the sub-continent."
Plunkett took four wickets in Yorkshire’s season-opening draw against Somerset at Taunton and is hoping to continue his close-season form.
"I was in a good place last year so I was trying to keep improving on that," he said.
"I just want to try my hardest every game; it's a cliché, but that is the way I want to work. I want to keep fit and strong and I am trying to improve on last year.
"I am enjoying my cricket at the minute. If I do what I did last year, then I will be better for it."
According to Plunkett, Gillespie's squad have the ability to mount another title push having gone so close last term.
"If you don't think you can win, there is no point in playing," Plunkett added. "Any team can push for the title. We have a strong squad and the will to win.
"The fitness levels have also gone up this year so that will be interesting. I think we are going to play some good cricket."