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Plunkett closing in on return

— 17 July 2017

Yorkshire fast bowler Liam Plunkett says his recent good one-day form for England has convinced him he can still force his way back into their Test team.

Plunkett has become England’s most potent weapon in ODI cricket this year having previously struggled to hold down a place in any format during a stop-start international career which began back in 2005.

His tally of 28 wickets from 13 matches in 2017 is the third best haul by any bowler in the world.

Plunkett played the last of his 13 Tests three years ago tomorrow.

But he has refused to give up hope of adding to that tally, admitting: “I feel like I’m at my best now.”

In good news for Yorkshire, the 32-year-old is closing in on a return from the groin injury which has forced him out of the county’s first four NatWest T20 Blast matches.

He may miss the weekend clashes with Birmingham Bears and Worcestershire Rapids at Headingley, but coach Andrew Gale says he is “heading in the right direction”.

“It wasn’t too bad, just a grade one (tear),” said Plunkett.

“It’s always frustrating to be injured, especially when you miss the start of the T20 stuff.

“I want to be playing, and with the squad we’ve got I want to be a part of that.

“We were close last year at Finals Day, and I feel like we’ve got the squad and the team to do well in that and win a trophy.”

Gale said: “He bowled a little bit on Thursday or Friday, just some light trundle.

“He’s heading in the right direction, but for next week it might be touch and go. We’ve got to bear the Championship in mind as well, how many overs he gets in before that (August 6 v Essex).”

Plunkett does not hide from the fact that his international career has been stunted by injuries and selection issues.

Since debuting in all three formats in 2005 and 2006, he has only played 83 times for England.

But his good run of form in one-day cricket has raised his hopes that the latter years of his career will be the most successful.

“The last couple of years, I feel like I’m a main part of that squad now,” he said.

“You always feel like you’re close to teams and stuff, but now I feel like I should be in that eleven, which is one of the first times I can say that.

“I feel like I have worked my way in there and have performed consistently.

“I’d love to say the same about Test cricket, but I’m a little bit off that.

“I still want to play, and I feel like I’m at my best now. I can be consistent with the white ball, so why not the red ball as well?”

Yorkshire have claimed four points from their first four North Group games in the Blast, most recently one from Friday’s rain-affected tie against Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford.

They have two home matches at the weekend, Birmingham on Friday night and Worcestershire on Sunday afternoon.

Tom Kohler-Cadmore will be unavailable for the latter as part of the deal that saw him move from New Road recently.

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