Plunkett looking to ruffle feathers

Liam Plunkett has set his sights on the West Indies batting line-up and is ready to "rough them up" with pace.

The 29-year-old England seamer is back in Test contention in the Caribbean after his comeback last summer was cut short by injury.

He managed 18 wickets in four Tests prior to that, playing a big part for an England side often criticised for going easy on the speed gun.

Liam Plunkett is back in the England reckoning after injury ruled him out of the latter half of last year

Liam Plunkett is back in the England reckoning after injury ruled him out of the latter half of last year

A minor ankle complaint during Yorkshire's pre-season trip to Abu Dhabi proved to be nothing more than a brief setback and he is now looking to make a name for himself in a part of the world that is famous for its quick men.

"I'm trying to be the fastest (bowler on the pitch). I train hard at it and I feel that's why I stand out from the rest," he said ahead of Monday's two-day warm-up against a St Kitts & Nevis Invitation XI.

"I feel like I'm adaptable but you might need those little patches in the game - where it's a bit dead and there's good batters - to try and rough them up a bit.

"That's why I'm in the team, because I do bowl fast.

"I'm not a bowler who runs up and just hits line and length all day, I want to do something, I want to ruffle batsmen up. If that's what I'm asked to do, I'm happy to do that."

With James Anderson and Stuart Broad likely to retain new ball duties for the first Test in Antigua on April 13, Plunkett is fighting for a place with Barbados-born Chris Jordan and the uncapped Mark Wood.

There is a case to be made for both his rivals, Jordan being more familiar with conditions in his homeland and Wood an unknown quantity to the opposition, but Plunkett relishes the scrap.

"It's a good unit, a good bunch of lads and we're all working hard. There's massive competition," he said.

"It's up to me to bowl well in practice and in the warm-up games and get the chance to play in the first Test.

"You don't want to just get in easily. You want to feel like you've earned your place and outbowled the other guys. You want to be the best bowler.

"Last summer I felt the best I had in my career, I felt good with the ball, I felt confident.

"I felt I was in a situation where I could win games for England. It didn't quite happen but I bowled nicely.

"Then I got the injury, went away this winter with the Lions and I feel good again. I got some wickets and some good rhythm so it would be good to play that first Test."

England plan to play a standard XI man fixture on Monday, with their selection likely to provide a clear insight into their preferred Test side.

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