Major League Cricket made yet another splash this week by announcing the signing of veteran England international fast bowler and 2019 World Cup champion Liam Plunkett, who will hook up with Minor League Cricket’s Philadelphians franchise this coming winter, where he will play next season and coach local youths.
“We approached the subject before Christmas, speaking to the guys who run Major League, Sameer Mehta and the other guys, talking about how I possibly could come on board with the Major League,’ Liam Plunkett told Emerging Cricket in an interview featured on the Emerging Cricket Podcast YouTube page. ‘…and for me, my first thing was I wanted to fulfil my contract with Surrey, and they’d been good to me the last few years.’
Plunkett has spent time in the Philadelphia area for winters and long trips since he met his wife a decade and a half ago. The opportunity to play cricket in his adopted American home, and to help build cricket in the USA by playing and coaching appealed to him. It was that same combination that sold Major League Cricket on the idea of signing him.
‘I’m sure the focus from everyone will be on Liam’s international record,’ Major League Cricket co-founder Sameer Mehta told Emerging Cricket. ‘I was most keen on the fact that he loves to coach and is pursuing advanced levels of Strength and Conditioning certification.’
‘The second most important thing to me was how keen he was to build a life in Philly. This is usually the hardest part when evaluating who would be a good fit to bring in.’
While the boost in quality of life, in the form of being able to spend more time at home and with his wife, and a future in coaching were big factors in the decision, the fast bowler has no plans to hang up his spikes any time soon. ‘Obviously I feel like I could play County Cricket a few more years, but with the opportunity to play Major League Cricket in a place like America where they’re sports fanatics, and when they get a hold of something it gets big and bigger and bigger,’ Plunkett continued, ‘to be able to be in one place and live with my wife in our house that we’ve had for the last 8 to 10 years in Westchester, PA…. it seemed like an opportunity of a lifetime.’
‘If someone told me 14 years ago, when I first went to Westchester, that there’s going to be a facility 5 miles down the road in Exton, that we were going to be playing Minor League Cricket, I wouldn’t have believed it… So to get that chance to sign this contract, to come on board and play Major League Cricket, and be attached to the Piladelphians… to be part of that, the academy of Philadelphia… to help the people coming through, while still being relevant in the game, I feel like I can offer a lot as a player as well as a coach.’
Liam has followed and watched Minor League Cricket since the season launched on July 31, and likes what he sees so far. ‘Just watching it the last month or so, there’s plenty of talent on show. And it’s just pointing that in the right direction.’
‘I’m coming to still play at my highest level. I want to play in the Major League, and the minor league… I’ll turn up every game, mark my runup out, and every delivery is a delivery, no matter where I am in the world or who I’m playing for, and that’s what I’m trying to do in America.’
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