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'If I don't know what speed it's going to come out, the batters won't either' - Liam Plunkett

Liam Plunkett celebrates a wicket with his teammates, England v Australia, World Cup warm-up, Southampton, May 25, 2019 Getty Images

Liam Plunkett knows he can't bowl consistently as fast as he used to but he is determined to turn what could be seen as a shortcoming into a weapon.

After all, there is a World Cup on his doorstep and Plunkett admits he turns into a green-eyed monster if he is not on the big stage.

Even during England's last warm-up, a nine-wicket win against Afghanistan on Monday, he couldn't help himself. Plunkett was officially rested for the match but came on as a substitute fielder, took a catch and was involved in a run-out.

While Plunkett's ability to frustrate opposition teams during the middle overs was his big selling point for World Cup selection, a drop in pace - inevitable at the age of 34 - was also noted as pundits weighed up the possibilities ahead of England naming their final squad last week.

"I find it harder to bowl as quick as I used to consistently," Plunkett said. "But I feel that's something that helps me. I'll try and bowl the same speed and sometimes it will come out at late 80s and sometimes it will come out at 81. So I feel I've got to use that as my variation. If I don't know what speed it's going to come out, the batters won't either."

Plunkett's role is also helped by England's formidable batting line-up which is threatening to become the first team to reach a total of 500.

"I've gone through patches since I came back when I was bowling consistently quick," Plunkett said. "We call our bowlers the ants as they just do the job, go home and let the batters get the glory. We'll take that.

"I just try and go about my business and do the hard yards with the boys in the middle and make it as boring and difficult as possible for the batters.

"Obviously it's been harder now for people as we can score at eight and nine an over so you know the batters will come after you. Maybe that's helped with wickets because people know they need to score and that gives you a chance to get wickets."

Plunkett returns to England's World Cup fold ahead of Thursday's tournament opener against South Africa having last featured in 2007, when he took four wickets in three matches. He has secured his place with 85 wickets at 28.43 from 53 matches since 2015.

He can't remember exactly where he was during the last World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, but he was watching, sometimes.

"I was watching," he said. "When I'm not in the squad I get a bit bitter. I don't like watching England because you're always jealous because you want to be there. So I didn't watch too much to be honest with you.

"At that point I wasn't sure I was going to play in the white-ball team so much. So, to be a couple of years down the line and be on the brink of playing on Thursday is exciting."

Plunkett can empathise with fellow fast bowler David Willey, who missed out when England opted for back-up spinner Liam Dawson for the World Cup. It is a feeling compounded by the squad's closeness, developed under captain Eoin Morgan.

"Even though people were thinking about the World Cup squad and the Pakistan series, the bowlers who didn't play were helping each other out," Plunkett said. "Me down at fine leg, one of the other bowlers would come and say, 'what do you think about this?' which is something that can be hard to do in a team, especially when you know the squad is coming up.

"Do you want to give that guy extra credit or something you know about the batter? So the guys have been really good, because we all get on with each other. But at the end of the day it is international sport.

"You want people to do well. I've never been a person who wanted someone to go out there and fail because I feel that can come round and bite you on the backside. This team, the support we have as a unit, is the best I've ever played in."

Meanwhile, Jofra Archer, whose inclusion also contributed to Willey missing out, wished he could have bowled double the amount of overs he had in preparation for the tournament since making his international debut against Ireland last month.

"I've bowled about 20 overs in the last month in a match situation which isn't really ideal," Archer said. "The flip side of that is you get to rest and I've had a long six months going back to October.

"I was 100 percent fit but I guess they were just trying to rest me. I didn't have any niggles or anything like that. I can get by, but personally I've not played a lot of 50-over cricket in the last year so I just wanted to top up."