Michael Vaughan has led the criticism of England’s decision not to offer Liam Plunkett a contract for the 2019/20 season, describing the fast bowler’s treatment as a ‘disgrace’.
Plunkett was not part of a group of players handed contracts for the upcoming 12 months of cricket, and found out about his axing on social media.
“I am really happy for all the boys who got contracted. I am not having a pop at anyone just disappointed I didn’t get one,” Plunkett wrote on Twitter before deleting the post.
England director of men’s cricket Ashley Giles said the call on 35-year-old Plunkett was “tough.”
“Moving into a new cycle of four years … (Plunkett) probably didn’t fit those future needs for the next 12-24 months, which is tough,” Giles said.
“He’s one of the most physical men we have in our line-ups. He’s incredibly fit and strong, but in terms of the numbers, I guess his pace has been down a little bit for some time.
“His best came in that role in the World Cup, and the World Cup final.
“He should be really proud of that achievement, and what they did as a team, but everything moves on for all of us.”
Liam Plunkett’s World Cup heroics go for naught
Plunkett claimed three wickets in the World Cup final which saw England lift the trophy after a tie with New Zealand.
He snared 11 wickets at an average of 24.72 during the tournament, including Kiwi captain Kane Williamson inn the final.
So it was particularly perplexing in May when Plunkett wasn’t named in a 55-man training squad for the English summer.
“For the selections this winter, I found out from Twitter that I wasn’t involved in the squad, which obviously disappointed me because I’d been involved in that World Cup,” Plunkett said on The Tuffers and Vaughan Cricket Show.
“I think if someone just spoke me and just said, ‘Listen, this is the route we’re going, we’re going down a bit younger, you’re not going to play in the next World Cup’, I’m happy. I’ve just played the last four years, won the World Cup, I’m more than happy to step aside.
“But I think it was just the way it was dealt with. So for me, I didn’t even know until I got a phone call from Ed Smith that this group of players were getting together.
“So when I got a phone call to say that you’re not in the squad and I was like, ‘Well, all right, I wasn’t expecting to be in the squad.’
“I’m not going to sit and be upset that I’m not in, I’m not bitter about it. Eight months ago, I was disappointed with the way it was dealt with, but now I want people to come in and do well, I’ve got nothing against them.
“Do I feel like I’m still good enough to be in that one-day squad? Absolutely. But they’re going in the direction of the younger group for the next World Cup, so that’s fair enough for me.”
Former England captain Vaughan said the fact Plunkett found out on social media was a ‘disgrace’.
“The most disappointing thing … was that after the World Cup final, he won England a World Cup with a group of players and management, and not one person rang him up. Not one person,” Vaughan said.
“He had to find that out through Twitter. I’m sorry … that doesn’t happen in this era of cricket. That’s a disgrace.”
I feel for Liam Plunkett. I would have picked him. Doubt there are many 34 year olds as fit as him.— Elizabeth Ammon (@legsidelizzy) May 29, 2020
55 players in the England men's training group, but no Liam Plunkett. Why do we have to bin off players just because they're in their 30s? A massive part of England's white ball sides from 2015 up to winning the World Cup. Definitely could play a role in the next World T20— Sean Merriman (@seanmerriman3) May 29, 2020
Feel really angry in the way England have treated Liam Plunkett. Shame on you . Sadly Ben Cox is in an era of fine wicket keeper batsmen.— william rollett (@RollettWilliam) May 29, 2020
Liam Plunkett. The most screwed over cricketer in recent memory? Dropped from tests after taking 9 wickets in a match. Won the world Cup last year never to be seen again. Stinks.— James McNair (@jamesmcnair79) May 29, 2020
Plunkett open to switching allegiances to USA
The 35-year-old has since revealed he would consider playing for the United States in the future.
Plunkett's wife is American and they are likely to settle in the United States, prompting him to consider changing his international allegiance if his England prospects do not improve.
“It would be nice be involved in some sort of cricket over there,” Plunkett told the BBC.
“My kids might be American, so it would be quite cool to say to them that I played for England and the US.”
The United States were given one-day international status in 2019, but Surrey star Plunkett would have to serve a three-year residency period in order to be eligible to play for the country.
“I'm English and I'll always be an Englishman, but if I'm still fit and there's an opportunity to play at the highest level, why would I not take it?” he said.
“If I go over there and end up being a US citizen, or have a green card, I can help the development, especially being someone who has just finished with England. It would be nice to get involved in that.”