'˜Disappointed' Liam Plunkett ready to talk to rivals with Headingley future in doubt

LIAM PLUNKETT has criticised Yorkshire for dropping him from their one-day team and revealed that he is looking to leave.
Yorkshire's Liam Plunkett.Yorkshire's Liam Plunkett.
Yorkshire's Liam Plunkett.

Plunkett, who was left out of a Royal London Cup match against Northants earlier this month, said that he had held fruitless discussions over a new contract and intends to talk to other counties.

Speaking ahead of today’s second one-day international against Australia in Cardiff, the England pace bowler said: “It’s my last year (with Yorkshire), and I went in for a chat with (director of cricket) Martyn Moxon and I didn’t really get offered anything.

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“They (Yorkshire) just said we’ll look into it in the next month or so, but it gives me a right to speak to other counties and I’m looking to do that.”

Plunkett, who is one of a number of players out of contract at the end of the season, along with Tim Bresnan and white-ball specialist Adil Rashid, was dropped after conceding 1-76 from eight overs against Lancashire at Old Trafford.

He claimed that Yorkshire felt that he was undercooked following his stint in the Indian Premier League, when he annoyed the club by leaving on the eve of the County Championship season along with England team-mate David Willey, who said that Yorkshire had threatened to rip up his own contract before a new one-year deal was announced yesterday.

“I had one bad performance,” protested Plunkett. “If they want to drop me on that ... They said I wasn’t ready, that I looked under-cooked. I was disappointed, and I let them know.”

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Middlesex have already been linked with Plunkett, who was England’s most successful bowler in their three-wicket win in the first ODI at The Oval with 3-42.

His days at Emerald Headingley appear numbered, with the club seemingly in no hurry to keep him on board.

For now, Plunkett – who is to miss two one-day internationals against Sri Lanka in October to get married – is focusing on his England role as Eoin Morgan’s men seek to take advantage of a depleted Australia.

Although England won relatively comfortably in Wednesday’s first match, the 33-year-old believes they fell short of the standards that have put them top of the International Cricket Council rankings and raised hopes that they could win the World Cup next summer on home soil.

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“We tied them down, and the spinners bowled really nicely,” he said, with Australia bowled out for just 214 at the Oval. “We’d take that all the time.

“But, absolutely, we agreed as a batting unit we should be able to finish that off (more easily).

“There were soft dismissals, and we’re looking to erase them. We need to show why we’re No 1 in the world.”

England’s opponents are in a vulnerable position, shorn of half their full-strength team through injury and former captain Steve Smith and combative opener David Warner’s year-long bans for their parts in the ball-tampering fiasco during the Test tour of South Africa two months ago.

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That sorry saga has also left them hostages to the treatment of partisan crowds only too eager to remind Australia of their misdemeanours. Plunkett, however, is not sympathetic.

“I don’t feel sorry for them,” he said. “You’re going to get it – it’s part of sport.

“I’m sure it would be the same if someone on the England team had done that. You get plenty of stick when you go and play against Australia Down Under.”

After dismissing Australia’s top-scorer and his ex-Yorkshire team-mate Glenn Maxwell three days ago, Plunkett was happy to throw in a tidy ‘sledge’ of his own too.

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“It was nice of him to hit a half-volley straight down someone’s throat. I enjoyed that,” he said.

Despite his impending marriage, Plunkett will be available for most of England’s autumn ODIs in Sri Lanka, where the home board reversed the scheduling of Tests and ODIs after he had already arranged a wedding date of October 13.

“The (Sri Lanka) board flipped it around, and I was so deep in the preparation,” he said of his marriage to American Emeleah Erb.

“I’m so excited and can’t wait for the day.”

Such were England’s struggles at The Oval, Australia, perhaps, have a glimmer of hope.

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But the task facing new captain Tim Paine and coach Justin Langer is an unenviable one as Australia try to win back friends – and a few cricket matches along the way – without the banned Smith and Warner.

Maxwell, who top-scored for the tourists at the Oval with 62, was encouraged by Australia’s sterling attempt to defend a paltry target.

“To be able to push England as far as we did with such a below-par total gives us a lot of confidence,” he said.

“We couldn’t have batted much worse, but we still gave ourselves a chance at the end.”

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As for his own performance, he added: “I left 13 or 14 overs out there. But, having said that, I felt I hit the ball well and stuck to my strengths.

“I hope it is a building block for the rest of the tournament.”