Chester-le-Street - England fast bowler Liam Plunkett is
excited by the prospect of facing West Indies' big-hitter Chris Gayle in an
upcoming one-day international series.
Veteran left-handed opener Gayle gave England a taste of
what they can expect in the five-match ODI clash with a typically rapid 40 as
World Twenty20 champions West Indies beat England by 21 runs in the lone T20
international of their tour in Durham on Saturday.
A sell-out crowd were rewarded for braving a cold and rain
swept night in Chester-le-Street by the sight of Gayle smashing three fours and
four sixes in just 21 balls.
It was a reminder that the 37-year-old Jamaican has lost
none of his power at the crease and England are preparing for more of the same
when the ODI campaign starts at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
"I don't think anyone knows (how to bowl to Gayle) do
they?" said Plunkett. "He's such a good player he just hits the ball
out of the park wherever he wants."
None of the West Indies side that played on Saturday
featured during their recent 2-1 Test series loss in England.
But the likes of Gayle, Marlon Samuels and Jerome Taylor,
who missed the Test series because of a clash with the Caribbean Premier League
Twenty20 tournament and the legacy of a bitter dispute with Cricket West Indies
chiefs, are now back in the fold.
"It's good they have their experienced players back, a
lot of stars, and that's what you want to play against," said 32-year-old
"You want to beat the best they can bring over."
While the West Indies also have two World Cup titles behind
them, England have yet to win a major global one-day international trophy, with
the 2010 World Twenty20 in the Caribbean their lone piece of International
Cricket Council silverware.
But England are a much-improved ODI side since their woeful
first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
"In one-dayers we're a good team, we haven't won any
silverware obviously but in terms of the last two years with the amount of
games and series we are a confident team," Plunkett said.
"We feel like we should beat them (West Indies)."
Meanwhile, Plunkett could yet become the leading
wicket-taker in one-day internationals this year.
He has taken 28 wickets in 13 ODIs in 2017, with
Afghanistan's Rashid Khan (36 wickets) and Pakistan's Hasan Ali (31) topping
the list for the calendar year to date.
The Yorkshireman took three for 27 on Saturday and now looks
to be increasingly settled at international level following a stop-start
Plunkett made his England debut back in 2005 but it is only
in the past two years that he has become a white-ball regular.
"I'm quite comfortable in my own skin with England
now," he said.
"It's good to have that feeling and it would be great
to be the number one wicket-taker.
"It would be great to achieve that but also good to win