Home > Features >

Liam Plunkett: England’s answer to Mitchell Johnson

Liam Plunkett could play a key role in England's 2015 Ashes campaign © Getty Images
Liam Plunkett could play a key role in England’s 2015 Ashes campaign © Getty Images

After being battered by the Australians 5-0 in Ashes 2013-14 by a certain Mitchell Johnson, England have had their prayers answered with their own version of the Australian speedster. Johnson and Plunkett’s paths have taken a familiar road to success. R Vishal compares the duo’s excellent comebacks.

Beleaguered and constantly in and out of the side of the side for close to a decade, Mitchell Johnson admitted to have considered quitting. Had the selectors not placed their faith in him during the build-up to the Ashes 2013-14 tour, we might not even have seen one of the most thrilling displays of red-hot pace bowling in recent years.

While Johnson was running through the English batting order, there was a lot of talk about Michael Clarke using the left-armer in short bursts. With the sheer amount of cricket being played in this day and age, pacers suffer breakdowns with each passing series.

Johnson’s carnage though, might have given the English selectors food for thought. A structure to a pace battery took shape – variety with the faster bowlers rather than variety with the make-up of the bowling line-up. The England Cricket Board (ECB) didn’t even select a frontline spinner for the home series against Sri Lanka.

Liam Plunkett’s call-up after seven years though, raised a few eyebrows. While Johnson was always seen as a bowler brimming with potential, Plunkett was merely an experiment during the pre-Stuart Broad days. While pace legend Dennis Lillee revived Johnson, it was an Australian speedster from a different generation, Jason Gillespie, who transformed the out-of-favour Plunkett.

Signing up for Yorkshire, coach Gillespie replicated the pace card of the Australian team-management. With small dozes, Plunkett was running with serious pace and was touching 90 mph at will. How did he get that extra yard of pace?  Barring Johnson, most speed-guns in recent times have sacrificed their pace for accuracy and longevity.

There is no doubting the fact that Lillee had sat down with Johnson and ironed out glaring deficiencies. This is where Gillespie should be lauded for his work with the Englishman too. There was one common denominator that Johnson and Plunkett shared – running in with pace.

In the two Tests against the Lankans, the 29-year has been fast, getting the odd ball to swing and has been a constant menace to his opponents. Plunkett recently attributed his new found success to the coaching methods he experienced at Yorkshire. He also mentioned England batting legend Geoffrey Boycott’s advice of encouraging him to steam in without thinking too much about peripheral details.

Apart from donating a kidney to his ailing father a few years ago, Plunkett also hinted in an interview with the Telegraph about being over-coached in his younger days. In a nutshell, rather than enjoying the sheer joy of firing in and hitting the deck hard, far too much emphasis  is laid on refining a player’s technique. Plunkett’s marvelous comeback should pave the way for the grassroots in Old Blighty to encourage the simple pleasures of playing cricket too.

R Vishal is a journalist and alumnus of Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter@vishhell)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 28, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Adelaide

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 29, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Deodhar Trophy, 2014-15

Nov 29, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at TBC

More

Afghanistan tour of UAE, 2014

Nov 28, 2014  at Dubai

United Arab Emirates won by 5 wkts

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 28, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 21 runs

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 124 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 25 runs

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014  at Colombo

Hong Kong won by 2 wkts

Photos

Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos

Videos

Phil Hughes passes away: Video tribute

Sean Abbott will find the road ahead a living nightmare

Phillip Hughes’ death: What happens to India vs Australia Test series?

Phillip Hughes 63 not out, forever

Phil Hughes: Remembering his most memorable knocks

Phillip Hughes passes away: Crying for Phillip Hughes

Australia England India New Zealand New Zealand tour of UAE 2014 New Zealand vs Pakistan New Zealand vs Pakistan 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs New Zealand Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014 Phil Hughes Phil Hughes Death Phil Hughes head injury Phillip Hughes Sri Lanka

India tour of Australia 2014-15: 1st Test set to be rescheduled as David Warner, Shane Watson and Brad Haddin not ready

UAE beat Afghanistan by 5-wickets in first ODI at Dubai

Bangladesh edge out Zimbabwe by 21 runs in 4th ODI at Dhaka

Phillip Hughes was destined for greatness: Steve Waugh

Afghanistan set 249-run target against UAE in 1st ODI at Dubai

Brendon McCullum smashes fastest Test century for New Zealand

Pakistan vs New Zealand, 3rd Test at Sharjah, Day Two: Statistical Highlights

Phillip Hughes’ death: Cricket resumes, but with a heavy heart

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014, 4th ODI at Dhaka: Highlights

Mushfiqur Rahim and Mohammad Mahmudullah record second-highest fifth wicket partnership for Bangladesh in ODIs

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

682 Posts | 6 Fans

Video: Phil Hughes suffers head injury, collapses on field during New South Wales vs South Australia tie

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Pukaar’s Rannvijay Singh will face new challenges with ‘Zen Life’

Yami Gautam Birthday: The Vicky Donor girl turns 26 (In Pics)

6 medical miracles that will blow your mind

OPEC daily basket price closes over three US dollars lower

Badlapur new poster: Varun Dhawan stuns us with his deadly rugged avatar – view pic!

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

6 must-have aromatherapy oils for your medicine cabinet

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here