YORKSHIRE are sending new signing Liam Plunkett to Australia for seven weeks in a bid to get him ready for the forthcoming county season.
The fast bowler has endured a difficult two summers through injury and loss of form with Durham, and the White Rose county believe a spell at the Darren Lehmann Academy in Adelaide will help to bring him up to speed before he embarks on his Headingley career.
The 27-year-old from Middlesbrough has only played three County Championship matches in the last two seasons, missing the latter half of 2012 with an Achilles injury, He will return to Headingley on March 5 ahead of the club’s pre-season tour of Barbados six days later.
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“Liam will head out on Monday to Adelaide and join up with the Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy,” explained director of professional cricket Martyn Moxon.
“The thinking is to give Liam every opportunity to play and train in excellent conditions. He missed a lot of last season through injury, so he is keen to make up for lost time and get some good outdoor preparation in readiness for our pre-season trip.
“Our conditioner has implemented a fitness programme for Liam, which he will execute out in Adelaide.
“In addition to the training, there will be many opportunities to play during the week for the Academy, which organises matches against other competitive teams in South Australia.
“At weekends, he will play grade cricket for the University, which will help his development.
We have a good partnership with the Academy through Darren and Dizzy (Jason Gillespie).
“On a weekly basis we will get a full report on how he is progressing and will also be in touch with Liam to see what is working for him.”
Lehmann’s Academy is a popular winter destination for county cricketers, and Plunkett follows Joe Root, David Wainwright and Ajmal Shahzad, who have all spent time there while on contract with Yorkshire.
“It is a great facility out there, and they know how to look after the players,” added Moxon. “The coaches are very experienced. They know what our objectives are. We have seen Joe, Ajmal and David all have successful stints in Adelaide in the past, and I have no doubt that Liam will return to the club ready and prepared for an important year ahead.”
Liam Gough, the son of ex- Yorkshire fast bowler Darren, is also spending time in Adelaide this winter. Gough, 18, was a fast bowler, but knee injuries forced him to convert to a top order batsman and offspinner.
He was on the MCC’s Young Cricketers programme last summer.