England in South Africa 2015-16 January 18, 2016

Plunkett replaces Finn for ODI, T20 leg


Liam Plunkett impressed during England's T20 series win in the UAE © Getty Images

Liam Plunkett has been called into England's limited-overs squad in South Africa after the ECB confirmed that the side strain picked up by Steven Finn during the Johannesburg Test has ended his tour.

The news is a considerable setback for Finn, although England expect him to be available for the World T20 in March. Having originally been left out of the Test tour of South Africa due to a foot injury, he recovered quicker than anticipated and, after his late call-up, bowled beautifully - though without much reward - in the first three Tests. He will remain in South Africa to begin his rehab before returning to England after the final Test.

Plunkett, currently with the England Lions in the UAE, was unfortunate to miss out on selection originally. He bowled with impressive pace and hostility in the two T20s he appeared in against Pakistan in the UAE - claiming three wickets in each of the games - at the end of November but missed out to the likes of Chris Jordan and Chris Woakes, who it appears are being groomed as England's death bowlers.

There was also a suggestion that Plunkett, for all his hostility when it most counted, had not always impressed as much as his team-mates in training sessions. Having spent a fair portion of 2015 on tour with England but rarely made in into the side, some frustration, even disillusionment, was probably inevitable.

"I was disappointed not to be in the squad in the first place," Plunkett said. "But I came back here with the Lions determined to play to my best and show I'm still ready if they need me. Then obviously I saw Finny was injured, so I did wonder, and I got the call from James Whitaker.

"We've only played a warm-up game out here so far against the UAE but I felt in pretty good rhythm straight away and clicked it up to a decent pace. From the end of last season I've pretty much been bowling all the time, and I just had a few weeks off in December."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andy on January 19, 2016, 8:58 GMT

    Woakes is a terrific county cricketer, but in none of the three disciplines has he shown the ability to transfer that to international level. He may do at some point, who knows. If England want someone who can bowl quick, be aggressive and slog it around down the order then Plunkett is the logical selection, having done just that on a number of occasions for the national side already.

  • David on January 19, 2016, 7:28 GMT

    @Land47. I wasn't comparing Plunkett's allround ability with Woakes, and I doubt for the sake of this argument anyone else is. Simply enough, Plunkett is the closest replacement for Finn. Have no problem with Woakes replacing Jimmy when he was unfit but Plunks is the cover for Finn. And at least he is a far better option than Jordan who - beyond some top class fielding - seems to have nothing to offer

  • John on January 19, 2016, 5:41 GMT

    @Roshan_P on January 18, 2016, 23:32 GMT; Plunkett can't play in the fourth Test because he's not in the Test squad. He's replacing Finn in the limited-overs squads only. The Test squad already includes Woakes, Footitt and Jordan so there's no need to add another bowler.

  • Jose on January 19, 2016, 5:20 GMT

    Happy for Plunkett. Hope he does well for himself. And, for many who argued for his incusion in the playing XI. Best wishes.

  • Yasassri on January 19, 2016, 4:04 GMT

    Liam Plunkett is the victim of POOR selection policy

  • Roshan on January 18, 2016, 23:32 GMT

    Got to play Footitt in the 4th Test, although I wouldn't be disappointed if Plunk plays. Footitt has pace, a great bouncer and yorker, swing and a left-arm action. He would be great in South Africa. I really do not want to see Chris Woakes. He's a decent batsman and a decent bowler, but not good enough for Test cricket. We need someone with pace and bounce to replace Finn, who did really well, and Footitt fits the bill brilliantly.

  • andymu8521185 on January 18, 2016, 23:19 GMT

    Roy ali hales root morgan butler stoke willey plunkett tredwell finnn

  • Nicholas on January 18, 2016, 21:31 GMT

    @burn_addict (post on January 18, 2016, 14:19 GMT): I usually do at the beginning of every Ashes series.

    Chris Woakes being groomed as England's death bowler!!!? Give me a break. He is best used opening the bowling, not at the death. He's done well in a few games, but on the whole is too erratic and expensive for death bowling in short formats. As I said in another thread, I'm kinda glad Plunkett wasn't chosen for the test squad touring South Africa as I'd much rather he get proper game practice than keep Patel and Jordan company on the benches. Woakes it seems was always going to be next in line behind Anderson, Broad and Finn-knee; personally I'd like to get a look at Footitt though now that Finn-knee is side-lined.

  • ian on January 18, 2016, 20:43 GMT

    Liam Plunkett is a very hungry cricketer! He cannot wait for a chance to prove himself. This is a guy who seethes aggression and having seen him play a few times, he could upset England's SF setup that decided they could do without him! I wouldn't be surprised if they are proved wrong. I hope he gets his chance!

  • John on January 18, 2016, 20:20 GMT

    I'm happy for him, but I don't see him in England's longer-term plans. He's just not consistent enough at international level.

    @Marktaffin: no, he isn't. He's maybe as good as Jordan. He's not as good in any discipline as Woakes. Footitt- who knows? He's only been successful over the last 3 years and mostly in Div. 2.

    Finn's a loss, but Plunkett wouldn't have been the best replacement. 30 years old with a EC average of 30.96. Woakes is 26 with a FC average of 25.42. Woakes is also a genuine allrounder with an average of 36 and 8 FC centuries,. Plunkett's a useful lower order bat with an average of 23 and 2 centuries. Woakes has only played 5 tests spread over 2 1/2 years. He'll be a good test player once he gets a run in the side. Plunkett isn't in that class.

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