YORKSHIRE’S Andrew Gale has been studying Michael Clarke’s captaincy in a bid to help him get the best out of fast bowler Liam Plunkett.
The White Rose skipper spent some of his time during a winter Down Under watching how captain Clarke used Mitchell Johnson to great effect during the Ashes whitewash of England.
Johnson hurt England with raw pace - something Plunkett did to Somerset in this week’s LV= County Championship draw at Taunton, although without the devastating results Johnson achieved.
Plunkett’s haul of 4-117 was the pick of the Yorkshire bowling figures during the first match of the season, played out on a docile pitch perfectly suited to the batsmen.
The 29-year-old Middlesbroughborn England Lions man bowled quicker than any other bowler from either side. He often bowled from around the wicket into the body of the right-handers, and twice hit Chris Jones and Craig Kieswetter on the helmet.
“I know Galey has learned a lot of things from how Michael Clarke used Mitchell Johnson, and he’s made reference to that,” revealed Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie.
“Liam is a similar kind of bowler, one who likes to bowl at 90mph plus. You would have noticed when Kane Williamson got a wicket, Galey brought Liam straight back on to try and unsettle the new batsman.
“I think Galey’s captaincy was excellent this week. He was innovative, he used his bowlers well, and it was a real solid performance from him as well.
“Liam’s bowling as quick as anyone going around at the minute, there’s no doubt about that. I think his real value is on those wickets which aren’t offering too much assistance for anyone.
“He can come on and create a bit of uncertainty and indecision.
That’s certainly a role he enjoys, and one we’re continuing to develop with him in our attack.
“He works incredibly hard on his fitness. I think I would go as far as saying he’s the fittest cricketer I’ve seen in all my time. He really is a machine.
“He’s got a very simple directive from me. Run in, hit that track and bowl fast. All the coaches and his team-mates will support him in doing that.
“We know he’s not a bowler who will go for one and a half or two runs an over. He’s there to create uncertainty and indecision. I thought he did that really well.”
Plunkett has come into the RAW POWER: Backed by the guidance of captain Andrew Gale and coach Jason Gillespie, Liam Plunkett steamed into Somerset with genuine menace in the season’s opening game domestic summer on the back of a successful England Lions tour of Sri Lanka through February, where he took seven wickets in four firstclass matches.
He was joined on the tour by county colleagues Jonny Bairstow and Alex Lees.
Left-handed opener Lees added: “Liam was just superb in Sri Lanka. He bowled with hostility, and he bowled really, really quick spells. He was relentless.
“He hardly bowled any bad balls, and he bowled a really heavy ball.
He was able to hit somebody on the badge of the helmet, but then back it up with length at 80 odd or 90 mph. He was bowling the speed of light with good skills.”
Yorkshire are back in Championship action against Northamptonshire at Headingley on Sunday.
Northants drew their opening match with champions Durham at Wantage Road this week.