Ageing Liam Plunkett seeks inspiration from Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James
"I've been one of England's best seamers in the last few years."
Published - Apr 2, 2019 2:20 pm | Updated - Apr 2, 2019 2:20 pm
Veteran England pacer Liam Plunkett will turn 34 next week but is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down. After plying his trade for Durham and Yorkshire, the right-arm pacer is now eyeing a successful stint with Surrey with whom he signed a three-year deal last year. Before the start of the new season, Plunkett has made clear his big future goals. And to make sure that his body does not fail him, he is seeking inspirations from other global sports stars. Plunkett has revealed he has been studying the methods of football star Cristiano Ronaldo and basketball star LeBron James in order to prolong his time at the highest level.
Plunkett has been one of England’s integral members in the limited-overs squad. He made his England debut in 2005 and has since played 13 Test Matches, 78 One Day Internationals, and 22 T20Is, taking a total of 182 wickets in addition to contributing 864 runs. Plunkett’s next big aim will be to get into England’s World Cup squad for the tournament at home this summer where the hosts will start as firm favourites.
Plunkett has been England’s most successful ODI bowler since the 2015 World Cup. Since that tournament four years ago, only three fast bowlers in world cricket have taken more ODI wickets than Plunkett’s 77 in 49 matches. His career, however, has been off the track in recent months. He missed the tour of Sri Lanka last year with an injury before making an impressive comeback against Windies earlier this year. In the five-match series which was thoroughly dominated by batsmen, he managed to pick up just one wicket at 133.00 in three innings. But Plunkett is not disheartened at all and is ready to put in the hard yards.
“You don’t want to go away from what works but you need to improve on that,” he was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. “You’ve got your variations and that but my variations only work when I’m bowling late-80s (mph). “Do you need to get lighter as you get older to get that snap? That’s what I’ve tried to do over the last two months, to train different. I always feel like I’m in good shape but do you get lighter?
“Reading the articles with the best sportsmen like Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James, as you get older, you get lighter and then you still get that snap and you get more powerful, so that’s something I’m working on because I still want to run up and bowl 90mph,” he added.
Plunkett not worried:
The meteoric rise of Jofra Archer has put pressure on Liam Plunkett and his fellow bowlers as the Barbados-born all-rounder will be eligible for England in time for the World Cup. Skipper Eoin Morgan has already said that the team will try him out during the series against Pakistan before the World Cup gets underway. However, Plunkett believes that his performances in the last year are enough to warrant a place in the final squad.
“I feel like I should be in that 15, I feel I’ve played well and I’ve been one of England’s best seamers in the last few years,” he said. “My pace was just coming back towards the end of that (West Indies) trip and that’s why I’ve continued to bowl the last couple of weeks. It’s good to play for Surrey now to get that rhythm and that snap.
“Reading the press, [Archer] might get a chance against Pakistan, he’s a good cricketer so whatever happens, happens. The other bowlers can’t do anything about that, you just have to go back and perform for your county,” he added.