Inspired by Ronaldo and LeBron, Liam Plunkett chases World Cup spot
Liam Plunkett hopes to keep his place for the World Cup in England. © Getty

As he prepared to turn 34 next week, England pace bowler Liam Plunkett has cast his gaze towards two of the world’s biggest sporting icons for inspiration.

Plunkett, who made his international debut in 2005, is not looking at slowing down post the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup and hopes to emulate Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James, both 34, to keep pushing himself.

Having followed the success and training methods of Juventus forward Ronaldo and NBA superstar James, Plunkett hoped to keep his body in shape.

“You don’t want to go away from what works but you need to improve on that,” he said. “You’ve got your variations and that but my variations only work when I’m bowling late-80s (mph). Do you need to get lighter as you get older to get that snap? That’s what I’ve tried to do over the last two months, to train different. I always feel like I’m in good shape but do you get lighter? (READ: England’s fast-bowling stocks competitive ahead of World Cup: Woakes)

“Reading the articles with the best sportsmen like Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James, as you get older, you get lighter and then you still get that snap and you get more powerful, so that’s something I’m working on because I still want to run up and bowl 90mph.”

In England’s most recent ODI assignment – the 2-2 draw in the West Indies – Plunkett joined Chris Woakes, David Willey, Mark Wood and Tom Curran as the team’s pace assets. He hopes to make the April 23 cut for this summer’s World Cup, having managed one wicket in the ODI series.

“I feel like I should be in that 15, I feel I’ve played well and I’ve been one of England’s best seamers in the last few years,” he said. “My pace was just coming back towards the end of that (West Indies) trip and that’s why I’ve continued to bowl the last couple of weeks. It’s good to play for Surrey now to get that rhythm and that snap.”

The Barbados-born allrounder Jofra Archer is eligible to play for England and his name has been taken by Eoin Morgan and Trevor Bayliss with regards to a short home series with Pakistan before the World Cup. Plunkett is aware of Archer’s threat but did not choose to think about it.

“Reading the press, [Archer] might get a chance against Pakistan, he’s a good cricketer so whatever happens, happens. The other bowlers can’t do anything about that, you just have to go back and perform for your county,” he said. “I’m not really one for thinking too much about these things. I did that too much when I was younger – ‘am I going to get on this tour or this tour?’ – you weren’t really focusing on the now, you’re going out and you’re always looking one step ahead and that’s when you don’t perform.”

The World Cup begins on May 30.