Liam Plunkett joined Yorkshire aged just 27 ahead of the 2013, although many sceptics believed that his best years were behind him. After two Championship medals in the White Rose shirt and a return to England colours, those views have surely been revised.
For someone so young, he had already had quite some career with titles and England appearances in Test, one-day and Twenty20 cricket behind him.
2014, however, proved to be memorable for more than one reason. A third Championship title of his career and an England recall to the Test team after seven years away. He debuted in Test match and one-day international cricket for England at 20, and has gone on to play his part in two County Championship title wins with former county Durham in 2008 and 2009.
Injuries and loss of form during his last two seasons at Emirates Durham brought about his departure from the North East county, but White Rose director of professional cricket Martyn Moxon and coach Jason Gillespie jumped at the chance to secure his signature on a long-term contract.
They were confident that their new acquisition could recapture the kind of form that saw him take 49 Championship wickets in 2009 and regain his place in the England side to boot.
As well as taking over 400 first-class wickets, he can be an extremely useful asset with the bat as well having scored two hundreds and 18 fifties.
Plunkett, viewed as one of English cricket’s fastest bowlers, also spent a month and a half during the winter of 2007/8 playing for the Nashua Dolphins franchise in South Africa. He was a team-mate of former and current Test match stars Shaun Pollock and Hashim Amla.
2001 – Whilst playing for Durham’s Academy in the North East Premier League, he made three second XI appearances for the county.
2002 – Took nine wickets in five one-day matches for England under 19s against their India counterparts in August.
2003 – Debuted in all three forms of first-team cricket for Durham, taking 19 wickets in first-class cricket through the season. His maiden five-wicket haul came against Yorkshire at Headingley in June, a 167-run win for the visitors.
2005 – A haul of 51 Championship wickets, including two five-fors, earned him a place in England’s post-Ashes winning tour party for their series in Pakistan. He debuted in the third Test at Lahore in November, taking two wickets. Took three wickets on his one-day debut against the same opponents at the same venue in a 42-run win in December.
2007 – Took 12 wickets in the series, including career best figures of 3-24 at Sydney, as England won the Commonwealth Bank one-day trophy against Australia and New Zealand in January and February. Took career best Test figures of 3-17 against Sri Lanka at Edgbaston in May, and snared ten wickets in the competition to help Durham win the Friends Provident 50-over Trophy in August. Played briefly for South African franchise Nashua Dolphins in November.
2009/2010 – Took 71 first-class wickets in two Championship winning seasons for Durham, including 49 competition wickets in the former campaign. A career best 6-63 came against Worcestershire at Chester-le-Street in late June, 2009.
2011 – Having played in the last of eleven Test matches in 2007, he returned to England colours after nine months away in a one-day match against Australia at Perth in February, taking two wickets. He had to make the long trek from a Lions tour in the West Indies and back again to play just the one game. Scored a career best 107 not out in a first-class friendly against Durham University in April.
2012 – After injury and loss of form restricted him to just three Championship matches in the last two summers, he signed for Yorkshire on a three-year contract in October.
2013 – On his Yorkshire debut, Plunkett took career best innings figures of 6-33 in a first-class friendly against the students of Leeds/Bradford University in early April. He went on to take 36 wickets from 12 Championship matches, including a haul of 5-32 in his fourth match against Warwickshire at Edgbaston the following month. Plunkett earned a recall to the England Lions side for a two-day match against Australia at Northampton in August. Having been capped by the county earlier in the month, he was named as their Fielder of the Year at the end of the season.
2014 – Plunkett, a man who prides himself on his physical fitness, warmed up for the summer with an England Lions tour of Sri Lanka, where he scored his second first-class hundred. He then surprised many a county batsman with his searing pace during the early stages of the summer, earning an England recall to Test cricket following seven years away, playing four Tests against Sri Lanka and India. He enjoyed a particularly productive Test against Sri Lanka at Headingley in June, taking 5-64 and 4-112, although his career best Test match figures could not prevent defeat. Took 24 wickets and scored 209 runs in seven Championship matches for Yorkshire, although an ankle injury ruined the last two months of his summer.
2015 – Plunkett’s appearances for Yorkshire were sporadic throughout another successful year for the county, owed mainly to international commitments – be it an unused squad member in Test matches home and abroad or as part of England’s one-day sides. He played five Championship matches in 2015, and arguably his most notable contribution came in the form of an exhilarating all-round return in the RL50 quarter-final at Essex when the match looked beyond Yorkshire. He scored 49 not out to help recover from 202-9 to reach 252-9 before his exhilarating three-wicket burst put the skids under the Eagles from 95-1 in response. He played three matches against Australia at the back end of the summer and toured the UAE with England in all three squads for the Pakistan series.