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England call up Liam Plunkett as cover for ODI

Liam Plunkett
Plunkett's last ODI match was against Bangladesh in Chittagong in March 2010

England have called up Liam Plunkett as bowling cover for the one-day international series against Australia.

The Durham paceman will leave the England Lions tour of the Caribbean to join Andrew Strauss' men ahead of the seventh ODI in Perth on Sunday.

England's bowling department has been depleted by injuries, with Ajmal Shahzad (hamstring) and Chris Tremlett (side strain) the latest casualties.

Australia go into the match with an unassailable 4-1 lead in the series.

Shahzad and Tremlett will undergo scans on Tuesday amid fears they will join Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann, who flew home early from the tour last week, on the sidelines.

Shahzad suffered a hamstring injury during Sunday's 51-run defeat in Brisbane, which saw England lose the series, while Tremlett did not take his place due to a slight side strain.

606: DEBATE

With those concerns, England have opted to call on Plunkett, who last played for England during the tour of Bangladesh in March 2010, although he will not get to Australia in time for Wednesday's sixth match in Sydney.

"Liam Plunkett has been part of the England performance programme and England Lions squad this winter so we are confident that he will be ready to play a role for England should the need arise," said England team director Andy Flower.

"We are waiting for an update on the injuries to Ajmal Shahzad and Chris Tremlett but with our preparations for the World Cup starting in less than a fortnight we need to prioritise getting our World Cup squad members fit and ready for the start of the tournament.

"We have two games left in this series and will be looking to end the tour with strong performances in Sydney and Perth."

England received some good injury news with long-term absentee Stuart Broad revealing he was ahead of schedule in his return from the stomach injury he suffered during the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.

The injuries are pretty minor so I don't think that is going to affect any balance to the World Cup squad but obviously it is a little bit frustrating in this series to have lost as many players as we have

Stuart Broad

The problem forced the 24-year-old seamer to return home before Christmas but, after flying back to Australia to step up his recovery last week, the right-armer is hopeful he will be fit to return in England's first warm-up game against Canada in Dhaka on February 16.

"My recovery is going very well, I'm probably a little bit ahead of schedule," he said. "I've probably bowled about 50-60% yesterday and I've pulled up fine this morning.

"Hopefully by the end of this Australian tour I will have come off near to a full run-up. My aim is to try and play the first warm-up game of the World Cup which is still two and a half to three weeks away.

"I'm hopeful for that."

Despite the number of injuries that have beset his fellow bowlers, Broad is confident that England will have a clean bill of health when they play their World Cup opener against Holland on 22 February in Nagpur.

"The injuries are pretty minor so I don't think that is going to affect any balance to the World Cup squad or anything like that, but obviously it is a little bit frustrating in this series to have lost as many players as we have," he added.

"It's been hard to find the right balance that we will go into the World Cup with. You can't do anything about injuries in sport that's just the way it happens.

"We've had a lot of cricket on this tour, I think we've done well with the amount of injuries we've had."



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see also
Strauss angry after England slump
30 Jan 11 |  England
England collapse to series defeat
30 Jan 11 |  England
Pietersen buoyed despite injuries
29 Jan 11 |  England
Trott ton sets up England victory
26 Jan 11 |  England
England suffer third one-day loss
23 Jan 11 |  England
Marsh inspires Australia victory
21 Jan 11 |  England
Watson ton too good for England
16 Jan 11 |  England
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket


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