Plunkett to seek conversation with Bayliss
Liam Plunkett will try to sit down with England coach Trevor Bayliss when the tour of the UAE concludes early next week to get a full explanation as to why he did not make the squad for the Test series in South Africa, but for now is just enjoying the chance to bowl quickly in the middle.
Plunkett was a surprise omission from the names for the four-Test series in South Africa, which starts on Boxing Day in Durban, after he was overlooked in favour of Chris Jordan, Chris Woakes and the uncapped Mark Footitt despite having been in the squad for the series against Pakistan.
He was close to playing the final Test in Sharjah, before England opted for a third spin-bowling allrounder in Samit Patel, and his subsequent ditching has left him pondering what he has to do to get back in the Test squad and have a chance of adding to his 13 caps.
"I'm gutted I'm not going. I'll try and catch the coach later on and speak to him to see what I can do to get back amongst the Test squad," Plunkett said after his Man-of-the-Match performance of 3 for 33 in the second T20 in Dubai. "I was obviously disappointed but you just have to move forward. In the middle of the one-dayers, I was going to leave it and have a catch up with him to see what went on, see what I did wrong or what I need to improve."
At least the T20 series against Pakistan has provided a slightly unexpected chance for him to get back into action after nearly two months on tour. He had only ever played one previous T20I, against Sri Lanka in Southampton in 2006, but has claimed six wickets in the two matches and has bowled with eye-catching pace - nudging the speed gun to 90mph - which has troubled the Pakistan batsmen.
But he has shown some subtlety, too, which came to the fore in the second T20 when, having seen Mohammad Hafeez flick a short delivery to the boundary, he pitched the next ball up and produced a leading edge which found mid-off.
"To say I'm fresh is an understatement," he said. "I've been here for seven or eight weeks now, I feel like I've worked hard on my game and on fitness and I feel I'm in good nick. I've bowled plenty of overs in the nets. I didn't think I'd get a run out in this form of the game but I wanted to take my chance and I felt good. It was nice to run in, bowl quick and get a few wickets."
With his services not required for the Tests in South Africa - barring injuries to others - Plunkett will be taking a holiday to the USA before returning linking back up with Yorkshire in the New Year. He then talked of pre-season with his county, which will include a trip back to the UAE, although his performances in these two matches could yet earn him a World T20 berth for the tournament in India during March.