Liam Plunkett hopes England can set aside their security concerns about touring Bangladesh as they bid to close out series victory over Pakistan.
England’s Test and one-day international trip to Bangladesh, due to start next month, was given the go-ahead after a delegation of experts reported back from their fact-finding mission. Plunkett will leave his decision whether to travel until after the end of the Royal London Series, with the squad for the ODI leg of the tour likely to be named by the end of next week.
In the meantime, England have their first chance at Trent Bridge in the third match of five against Pakistan today to convert a 2-0 lead into outright success.
They are riding high on a run of eight matches unbeaten in white-ball cricket this summer – so much so that Plunkett describes Eoin Morgan’s team as better than any he has previously played in for England.
His involvement stretches back, albeit sporadically at times, to 2005.
Plunkett is sufficiently convinced of England’s new pedigree to also risk the jinx that struck back in February – when with a 2-0 lead on the board then too, his fellow seamer Reece Topley dared to eye a 5-0 whitewash over South Africa.
England went on to lose that series 3-2, and for good measure were thumped 2-0 in the following Twenty20s. They have since reached the final of the ICC World Twenty20, and beaten Sri Lanka at home in all formats.
Plunkett said: “In the Sri Lanka (ODI) series we were ahead, and we won all the games we needed to there, so it’ll be the same mindset now.
“We need to improve – we all agree on that, and we’re still trying to take it up a notch.
“(But) we want to win this series 5-0, not 3-0, so we’re trying to focus on winning every game.”
As for those concerns about Bangladesh, where over 20 people lost their lives in the country’s deadliest terror attack last month, Plunkett will put any fears on hold and concentrate first on beating Pakistan.
England opener Alex Hales has admitted in an interview with a local newspaper that he is grappling with the “tough call”, and is wary of sacrificing his Test place.
But, Plunkett, said: “We are just digesting what went on in the meeting (with England and Wales Cricket Board management last week), and I will have a bit more of a think once the series is done.
“Maybe I will speak to a few more people, but I trust (ECB security adviser) Reg (Dickason) and what he says.”
Even so, Plunkett has made no firm decision yet.
“I’ll speak to my family once the series is done, have a good think, look into it a bit more and come up with a decision,” he said.
“I’ve got a few more questions to ask and I’ll finalise my judgment and come up with a decision then.
“People are talking to each other, getting different ideas.
“Some people might want to go; some people might not.”
Plunkett sounds significantly more convinced about England’s collective ability, and potential, on the pitch.
Reflecting on the respective merits of the teams in which he has won his 41 caps to date, he said: “At the start you are perhaps a little bit in awe of people around you like Flintoff and KP ... but now I feel you can win a game (yourself).
“We had individuals in the past, but I feel this is the best team.
“We had that New Zealand series last year, when we showed what we could do, and have gone from strength to strength.
“Even when we lost that series in South Africa, we were not discouraged.
“We carried on and kept backing what we did.”
With a home Champions Trophy looming next summer and then a World Cup in England two years later, Plunkett insists the sky is the limit.
“This is the best one-day team I have played with ... but we know we can improve, which is the best thing,” he said.
England are unlikely to change their winning team in Nottingham where, after two matches as a specialist batsman as he completed his recovery from a calf injury, all-rounder Ben Stokes is expected to be fit to bowl for the first time in the series.