Yorkshire CCC: Plunkett’s England call-up is fine reward for his hard work – Gale

Liam Plunkett.
Liam Plunkett.
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Yorkshire skipper Andrew Gale his say on all things cricket.

I AM really, really pleased for Liam Plunkett to get his Test recall after the way he finished at Durham, when he wasn’t bowling as consistently as he would have liked.

For us to take him on and for him to do really well and get the recognition is great. He’s worked really hard and we are going to miss him, no doubt about that.

There were many of our lads’ names in the hat such as Adil Rashid, whose name was in the mix along with Adam Lyth and obviously Jonny Bairstow and Tim Bresnan. We have got lads in and around the England set-up now and it’s good they are getting the recognition.

But I guess from our point of view it is not great for us. But ultimately we are here to produce England players.

The message we gave to the lads at the start of the season, if we are going to win anything, was that it is a squad thing. Guys are going to have to come in and take their opportunities.

Obviously, we enjoyed a fantastic win at Northants and it was probably even more pleasing than some of the other wins against the likes of Warwickshire, when we dominated from start to finish.

We showed real character at Northants and mental strength after getting bowled out for 136 in the first innings, which wasn’t ideal, although the wicket was doing quite a bit.

For us to bounce back so easily in the end shows how much grit and determination the team has got.

After the first day, I said: ‘That’s not us – when we get our opportunity second time around, let’s be ruthless and make our contributions count.’

I knew that getting off to a good start was going to be key, being 115 behind. But to put on 375 for the first wicket was a magnificent partnership which really drove the game forward.

Lythy just continued his great start to the season. We have always known that his ability and talent has been there; it’s just about him being consistent.

It’s almost like the penny has dropped now and he is showing real consistency and him and Alex Lees are forging a really important opening partnership. If you are going to be successful, it helps when you can put on 60 or 70-plus before the first wicket goes down.

As for Alex, he is such a mature character and been involved already in some really important partnerships. Last year, he scored 277 and for a 21-year-old, that just shows what character he is.

He never gives his wicket away and always puts a price on it.

It was nice to be in such a great position that we were able to give Aaron Finch a licence to play. I was pleased for him to get nearly 100 runs in his first game for us with the red ball as I know that is an area he wants to improve in and show he is not just a one-dimensional Twenty20 player. Hopefully, that has given him confidence.

Much has been made of the run-out of Jos Buttler by Sri Lanka’s Sachithra Senanayake and I wasn’t a massive fan of it and didn’t really agree with it.

Obviously, Buttler was warned before – yes. But he wasn’t trying to take a lot of ground. If he was backing up massively and running as the bowler landed, I’d have understood it as he was warned.

But I thought as soon as the umpire went to the (Sri Lankan) captain and said: ‘Do you want him to go off here?’, I would have just gone up to Buttler and said: ‘Look, it’s happened twice now – just be careful. If you do it one more time, we are going to run you out properly.’

That would have been that. What happened wasn’t good for the game and I think kids who watched that up and down the country will be doing that on a Sunday morning.

It’s not what cricket is all about. It’s a gentleman’s sport and you should play hard and fair, within the rules of the game.

I didn’t think that was playing hard and fair.

There’s a lot of experienced players in the Sri Lankan team such as Jayawardene, Sangakkara and Dilshan who have played a lot of cricket between them. If they had all got their heads together with the captain and given themselves 30 seconds to talk about it, then I am sure it would have been resolved.

But it’s happened now and I am sure the Sri Lankan dressing room will regret that in the long term.

It’s certainly spiced up the Test series and it should be fabulous to watch.

It will be interesting to see how Liam bowls at the Sri Lankans as they are not always the best fans of the short ball and he’s bowling at above 90 miles an hour at people’s heads at the minute, so they should watch out.

***Our exclusive Andrew Gale column is in assocation with Blacks Solicitors***