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Liam Plunkett turns up in shape after weeks on the baseball diamond

first_imgAn indoor baseball diamond in the town of West Chester, Philadelphia, was the scene of Liam Plunkett’s preparations for Sri Lanka, with the fast bowler tuning up before his late arrival on tour by firing cricket balls at a plastic mannequin. … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. Whether we are up close or further away, the Guardian brings our readers a global perspective on the most critical issues of our lifetimes – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. We believe complex stories need context in order for us to truly understand them. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Since you’re here… The Spin: sign up and get our weekly cricket email. A switch in the Test and one-day legs of England’s first winter tour left Plunkett, one of Eoin Morgan’s go-to seamers, unavailable for the first two weeks of the trip, having already booked last weekend’s wedding to Emeleah Erb in the Cotswolds months earlier.After leaving Yorkshire before the end of the season – he joins Surrey from next year – Plunkett spent six weeks leading up to the wedding over in the States, where his wife hails from, but still had to keep up his workloads. After a fortnight training outdoors, the discovery of a local baseball academy provided him with the ideal facility.“I didn’t want to come here and be bare and out of shape,” said the 33-year-old, who arrived in Kandy with his bride on Tuesday for a cricket-themed honeymoon. “I found an indoor centre [in America], like a kids’ baseball diamond, and it was pretty much big enough area to get my full run-up in and get my overs in.“I got a measuring wheel to mark out a pitch – people were looking at me weird – and it was AstroTurf, like Loughborough, so it was perfect. I borrowed some stumps and the mannequin resembled a batter, shaped like it was about to hit me out of the park. I took six new balls over with me and trained three times a week for four weeks. I enjoyed it. I knew I had to be ready straight away for this tour.” Topics news Support The Guardian Share via Email Alex Hales on standby for England after Bairstow twists ankle playing football Share on Twitter While Plunkett’s in-laws may still refer to his “outs” and his “pitching”, England’s one-day team now have a small fan club in West Chester. His only regret is not discovering their local baseball academy sooner, given he has spent the last 10 years flying back and forth across the Atlantic between cricket commitments.England’s relaxed approach to Plunkett’s late arrival in Sri Lanka – he was unable to postpone the wedding due to half of the congregation having already booked flights – owes much to his status in the eyes of Morgan, with his 75 wickets in 44 matches since the last World Cup second only to Adil Rashid (114) in the squad. Share on Pinterest Sri Lanka cricket teamcenter_img Share on LinkedIn Cricket Share on Facebook Read more Nevertheless, with Olly Stone and Tom Curran both impressing, and Mark Wood and Sam Curran unused before Saturday’s fourth ODI, the number of seamers vying for World Cup spots is stacking up. Plunkett added: “It’s good for the team that people come in and do well. England know what I can bring and, if I don’t get the nod, I will graft hard.“People forget for the first seven years of my England career I didn’t play, I was 12th man the whole time. I know how to deal with the situation. It’s nice to have some credit in the bank but, if someone comes in and gets four or five wickets, then it’s hard to say no to them. We’ve seen it with the batting and the top two changing a bit.” Australia slump to 373-run defeat and surrender series to Pakistan Reuse this content Share on WhatsApp England in Sri Lanka 2018 England cricket team Share on Messenger Read morelast_img read more