Tykes star loves the game again

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England Lions centurion Liam Plunkett admits he has “fallen back in love with the game” after signing for Yorkshire in 2012.

Plunkett, one of three Yorkshire players to score hundreds for the Lions in Sri Lanka last week, established a reputation as one of the country’s finest young players after coming through the Durham ranks.

But it was only after linking up with Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie at Headingley, that Plunkett began to regain his enjoyment for the game.

“I have fallen back in love with cricket,” Plunkett admitted. “I had a few down years, but now I am excited to play cricket again. I was looking forward to coming to Sri Lanka for Yorkshire’s pre-season tour, but then I got the Lions call up and came out a few weeks early.

“It’s been great fun - the lads have been brilliant, really welcoming even though some of them have been together since before Christmas.”

Plunkett, who had earlier seen young Tykes colleague Alex Lees hit 119, scored 114 in a 210-run partnership with Jonny Bairstow, who finished with 117 in the Lions’ drawn game against Sri Lanka A Emerging Players in Colombo.

“Yorkshire have been flying over the last couple of years,” Plunkett added. “Bluey [Bairstow] is a great player, and Alex Lees hit a double century for Yorkshire last season so he’s understandably full of confidence.

“It’s massive for the future of the club, and it’s really pleasing to see Yorkshire boys doing well.”

Plunkett will get another chance to press his claim for a full England call-up on Wednesday, when the Lions travel to Pallekele for the first unofficial Test match of the three-match series against Sri Lanka A.

Asked about his chances of making the full Test squad for this summer’s clashes against Sri Lanka and India, Plunkett admitted: “I’m a stage in my career where I have got to train hard and do the right things, and if it happens then it happens.

“But for me, the most important thing is that I am enjoying my cricket again.”