Liam Plunkett probably owes Steven Finn a drink. It was Finn's calf strain which opened the way for Plunkett to be called into England's World T20 squad and provide him with a chance to revive his international career, which appeared to be flagging late last year when he was left frustrated by his omission for the South Africa tour.

Now he is arguably keeping Finn out of the current starting XI against Sri Lanka. In the first three matches of the series he has taken seven wickets, including 3 for 46 in Bristol, not to mention clubbing the six which secured the tie at Trent Bridge.

When Plunkett was left out of the squad to tour South Africa he sought talks with coach Trevor Bayliss to find out the reasons. The instructions were to work on his variations, and Plunkett took heed of the advice, but he remains confident in his major asset: pace.

In Bristol he was clocked at 93mph and is performing a very effective battering-ram role for Eoin Morgan with the happy knack of striking early in spells to put Sri Lanka on the back foot.

"I felt I went really well in the World T20. I was involved in Dubai [against Pakistan] then not in South Africa so you don't know if they will keep the same team, but a few injuries came along. It was nice to get the nod, they liked what they saw in the T20 and they have backed me in this format. You have clarity to run up and hit the pitch and that's what I do.

"I got told in the winter that you have to work on some other things - slower balls and stuff - but for me I feel I'm best when I'm smacking the pitch and let the batsmen hit from there. I feel I'm more consistent now, my pace is up and I can hit a consistent area. It's not like I'm wild and erratic, I feel I can control it."

Plunkett claimed his 50th ODI wicket when he removed Kusal Perera - "It's only taken 11 years," he said with a wry smile - but having begun his international career back in 2005 as a raw 20-year-old he has learned to channel whatever frustrations have come his way.

"It was frustrating in the winter, being involved in the Tests and then not the one-day set-up but the guys were winning and playing a lot of good cricket. I've played long enough to realise you just have to keep grafting and when you get your chance you have to take it," he said. "I enjoy being around the squad, even though I want to play it's not the worst place to be even if you are 12th or 13th man. You just have to keep working on stuff so when you get the chance you do what you need to do."

He still harbours hopes of adding to his 13 Test caps - the last of which came against India, at Lord's, in 2014 - although only sees himself as an outside chance of being a replacement for James Anderson should he be ruled out of the opening Test against Pakistan, at Lord's, with his shoulder stress fracture.

"I'll still want to play Test cricket when I'm 38 but it is what it is. I've been around for a while now, I don't really think too much about the future, just about the next game and doing well," he said. "I feel if I start drifting off and think about other teams that goes against me. I'm in a good place now and we'll see what comes along. I want to cement my place in this team and still push for a Test spot."