Plunkett excited for fresh start
When Liam Plunkett made his England debut at the tender age of 20 in late 2005, it appeared we were witnessing the beginning of a fruitful international career.
The signs during the tour of Pakistan in which he was first called upon certainly suggested as much.
While Plunkett returned just two wickets for 125 runs in the solitary Test he played, the fast bowler impressed in the ensuing one-day international rubber; he claimed seven wickets to combine with 94 runs, including a half-century in just his second encounter.
However, despite the odd memorable effort in the ensuing years, the Middlesbrough man’s career has not quite panned out as expected; he has featured in just nine Tests, 29 ODIs and one Twenty20 international.
In domestic cricket, he helped Durham win back-to-back LV= County Championship titles in 2008 and 2009 - yet even those successes now seem a distant memory, for injuries and poor form have since plagued Plunkett’s career.
Those factors culminated in a move this summer, with Yorkshire seemingly determined to help the now 28-year-old rediscover the form that earned him a reputation as one of the domestic game’s premier seamers.
Speaking about life at his new club, Plunkett told ecb.co.uk: "So far, so good. I’ve got on with the guys really well and it’s been good.”
He added: “They had a great year last year (when winning promotion back to Division One of the LV= County Championship) and look like they are going in the right direction. That’s one of the reasons I moved here. But also working with (director of cricket) Martyn Moxon before.
“They obviously have Jason Gillespie (as coach) and they spoke to me; I signed for three years and am just excited to be here.
“They have shown a lot of faith in me. Martyn Moxon knows I am someone that will always try my hardest and I will give everything back I can to Yorkshire.
“Hopefully it will be the start of something good, obviously being something fresh. It is a platform and hopefully I can perform really well for Yorkshire.”
Part of the process of ensuring he can perform for the White Rose begins next week, when Plunkett travels to Adelaide for a warm-weather training camp.
He added: “In terms of my general fitness, I am fine at the minute. I did well in the testing but, in terms of cricket fitness, I want to get off to a good start before the season.
“I have obviously been to Adelaide on Ashes tours and, when I was 18, I went out to the same team that I will be playing for now (Adelaide University). I know a few people out there and it will be nice to catch up.
“It is obviously always warm down there and the facilities are very good too.”
During his trip Down Under, Plunkett may well take time to reminisce about some of his time spent there with England.
Many will conclude that returning to the international arena will be challenging. However, given his relative youth, he is not about to give up hope of donning the three lions once more.
He said: “If you do not have any aspirations to play for England again, there is no point in playing cricket.
“It is always there; you have to be realistic and I know I need to do well for Yorkshire and have a few good years to get back into the mix.
“But I want to play for England again. I have been there, enjoyed the experience and I think I’ve learnt a lot from the ups and downs of county cricket and being in and out of the England team.
“Hopefully I get my chance and, if I do, hopefully I will go well and cement a spot.”
Things may not have gone to plan since Plunkett’s bow in Lahore, yet he is not about to give up hope of fulfilling that early potential.