Is Alastair Cook the most undervalued cricketer in England? No. I’m going to say it’s Liam Plunkett. He’s probably the fastest bowler in the country, with the possible exception of Mark Wood, yet he’s not even going to South Africa. At least Cook is on the plane.
Yesterday showed just how upset Plunkett is. He steamed in, snarled, and let the ball rip. His 3-21 off 4 overs would have been good in an old-fashioned county sixty overs match, let alone a T20 on a decent batting pitch.
But Plunkett himself wasn’t really the story. The story was England. It’s amazing how far one of the worst limited overs sides in the world has come in such a short time. Eoin Morgan’s men just keep on winning. Even without Jos Buttler.
The batting stars yesterday were two relative newcomers to the international scene. The pressure on James Vince when England lost three quick wickets at the start was immense. Yet he looked as cool and a cucumber sandwich and unleashed several of his trademark orthodox strokes.
I like Vince. Always have done. His championship form has been patchy (heaven knows why) but he looks a very good player in limited overs cricket. I like him because he’s powerful but orthodox. He’s the player I wish I could be.
Sam Billings was also outstanding. He hasn’t done much in ODIs yet – mainly because he hasn’t had much of a chance – but anyone who’s seen him play for Kent knows this boy has serious talent. He’s got both power and finesse. His 53 off 27 games probably did more than anyone else to win the match.
England’s bowlers also did well as a unit. Jordan had one of his better matches – he can sustain his pace when he only has to bowl four overs – and he fired in his yorkers at the death with decent precision.
Stephen Parry also bowled well. He’s surely the best second XI county spinner in the country. Lancs are lucky to have both Parry and Kerrigan available for first class cricket.
Reece Topley also looked the part. There’s definitely something there to work with. He’s accurate, quite skilful, and seems to have a good head on his shoulders. He’s certainly a better bowler than Harry Gurney.
England just keep on rolling. Long may it continue. Even if we get stuffed in the test series in South Africa, the ODI team will be more than competitive.