Liam Plunkett insists England’s one-day specialists have no reason to be cowed by Australia’s Ashes success.
After surrendering the urn in a 4-0 series defeat, the tourists are hoping for a measure of revenge in the five-match Gillette series.
While the likes of Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes all head into tomorrow’s first one-day international in Melbourne bearing the bruises of the Test reverse, others are bringing a fresh dynamic.
Thursday’s warm-up win over a Cricket Australia XI showed Alex Hales (52) and captain Eoin Morgan (81no) in particularly eye-catching form, while Yorkshire bowler Plunkett joined Mark Wood in delivering the kind of rapid seam bowling that was conspicuous by its absence at key times during the Ashes this winter.
The Yorkshire paceman took two wickets in his nine overs, including CA skipper Matt Renshaw with only his third delivery on tour, and he has no intention of taking a backward step at the MCG.
“Australia are a good team and they’re confident from the Ashes but it is a different squad and a different unit here,” he said.
A lot of our guys didn’t play in the Ashes, so we’re full of energy and full of beans.Liam Plunkett
“A lot of our guys didn’t play in the Ashes, so we’re full of energy and full of beans. Some of the guys have been out here playing in the Big Bash, lads have been all over the world playing, so we’re full of confidence and looking forward to that first game.
“It’s a massive challenge against one of the best teams in the world, we’re looking forward to doing battle with them and trying to take this series.
“It’s always a test when you come to somebody else’s back yard. To get a win out here is pretty big.”
England had a day off training as they swapped Sydney for a rainy Melbourne and will hope they can dodge inclement weather long enough to have a full practice session at the MCG today.
Joe Root will be expected to play a full part in whatever drills are possible after finally shaking off the effects of viral gastroenteritis and take his place in England’s top order.
With Jonny Bairstow guaranteed one of the opening slots that means former partners Jason Roy and Alex Hales going head to head. The pair made 40 and 52 respectively against CA, with Hales hoping his slightly larger contribution is enough to earn him a first international outing since his involvement in a late night incident with Ben Stokes in September. Both men were suspended by England pending police investigations and, while Hales was cleared in December, Stokes is still waiting to hear if he will be charged by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Speaking after Thursday’s match in Sydney, Morgan said Hales has “learned his lesson”.
Worcestershire have appointed Kevin Sharp, who played a major role in the development of England captain Joe Root, as their head coach.
Former Yorkshire batsman and coach Sharp will make the step up from his position as second XI and batting coach at New Road and begins his new role next week.
“I am honoured and privileged that the club think of me in this way in awarding me this position,” said Sharp, who also worked with Jonny Bairstow, Garry Ballance and Adam Lyth at Yorkshire. “It was unexpected but I will do all I can to help Worcestershire be successful.
“I enjoy working here and have a fantastic relationship with the lads.”