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Two bits of fatherly advice crucial to Liam Plunkett’s revival
12:11pm Thursday 19th June 2014 in Sport
Liam Plunkett’s resurgent Test career is heart-warming reward for his own perseverance and his father Alan’s selflessness.
Yorkshire bowler Plunkett, set for his second Test in as many weeks against Sri Lanka at Headingley on Friday, endured inevitable doubts in the previous seven years as it became increasingly likely he would not add to his nine caps.
It was in the months just before he became surplus to England’s requirements, in 2007, that Plunkett had to make one of the biggest - yet, he insists, easiest - decisions of his life.
His dad was spending up to 20 hours a week on a dialysis machine and Plunkett offered to donate one of his own kidneys to help him.
Yet the response was a polite and deeply paternal ‘no thank you’ - a father’s instinct to do the best by his son and give him the chance to continue his career. It has been a long road since then for Plunkett.
Plunkett does not seek to deflect any of the blame for his drink-driving conviction along the way and accepts his own mistakes too during his descent not just out of the England reckoning but from Durham’s first team too.
His subsequent move to Yorkshire has brought a dramatic return to form - to the point that he is preparing to turn out on his new home ground for England on Friday.
The key was his switch to Yorkshire, where coach Jason Gillespie helped to restore the confidence he needed. It was not the former Australia fast bowler, though, who gave him the most memorable advice.
For that, he has Yorkshire’s plain-speaking former England batsman Geoff Boycott to thank.
“I met him when I first signed and he just said ‘don’t think, just bowl’ and walked off,” Plunkett said. “That’s all he said to me and I haven’t spoken to him since, but it makes sense.”
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