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England must maintain focus despite security fears, warns Plunkett

By David Clough

Published 30/08/2016

Looking ahead: Liam Plunkett during England’s nets session yesterday
Looking ahead: Liam Plunkett during England’s nets session yesterday

Liam Plunkett hopes England can set aside their security concerns about touring Bangladesh as they bid to close out series victory over Pakistan.

England's Test and one-day international trip to Bangladesh, due to start next month, was given the go-ahead after a delegation of experts reported back from their fact-finding mission.

Plunkett will leave his decision whether to travel until after the end of the Royal London Series, with the squad for the ODI leg of the tour likely to be named by the end of next week.

In the meantime, England have their first chance at Trent Bridge in the third match of five against Pakistan today to convert a 2-0 lead into outright success.

They are riding high on a run of eight matches unbeaten in white-ball cricket this summer - so much so that Plunkett describes Dubliner Eoin Morgan's team as better than any he has previously played in for England.

His involvement stretches back, albeit sporadically at times, to 2005 - in teams including big names such as Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff.

Plunkett is sufficiently convinced of England's new pedigree to also risk the jinx that struck back in February - when with a 2-0 lead on the board then too, his fellow seamer Reece Topley dared to eye a 5-0 whitewash over South Africa.

England went on to lose that series 3-2, and for good measure were thumped 2-0 in the following Twenty20s.

They have since reached the final of the ICC World Twenty20, and beaten Sri Lanka at home in all formats.

Plunkett said: "In the Sri Lanka (ODI) series we were ahead, and we won all the games we needed to there, so it'll be the same mindset now.

"We need to improve - we all agree on that, and we're still trying to take it up a notch.

"(But) we want to win this series 5-0, not 3-0, so we're trying to focus on winning every game.

"This is the best one-day team I have played with ... but we know we can improve, which is the best thing," he said.

England are unlikely to change their team in Nottingham where, after two matches as a specialist batsman as he completed his recovery from a calf injury, all-rounder Ben Stokes is expected to be fit to bowl for the first time in the series.

As for those concerns about Bangladesh, where over 20 people lost their lives in the country's deadliest terror attack last month, Plunkett said: "I'll speak to my family, have a good think, look into it a bit more and come up with a decision."

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