England v Sri Lanka: Liam Plunkett reveals kidney offer to father that put his career at risk


As the new England team arrived in Yorkshire for the second Test against Sri Lanka which starts at Headingley on Friday, Liam Plunkett reflected on his own international revival, which has come about after he moved south from Durham to play for the county.

That decision came in the aftermath of a family crisis, and his recall after seven years in the Test wilderness came as a reward after his father Alan had turned down Plunkett’s offer to donate a kidney.

It was in the months before he was dropped by England in 2007, when his father was spending 20 hours a week on a dialysis machine, that Plunkett offered to help him.

His father turned him down in order to give him the chance to continue his career. Now, at the age of 29, he has been trusted to help revive England’s fortunes after the Ashes debacle in the winter.

Plunkett fell out of favour at Durham but, mindful of his father’s health, he would not leave the county until another donor had been found. His subsequent move to Yorkshire brought about a dramatic return to form and when he takes the field in Leeds, his father will be in the crowd to watch him.

“I offered him my kidney a while back, and he’s had a transplant now so he’s healthy,” he said. “But you’d do that at the drop of a hat for your old man, wouldn’t you?

“He didn’t take one, because I was young and he wanted me to play cricket for as long as I could. He wanted me to play for England.”

Such was the relief when the operation was successful that Alan was not present for his son’s comeback at Lord’s because he had finally been able to book a holiday.

Plunkett admitted: “He said to me on the phone the other day, ‘I honestly thought you probably wouldn’t play for England again. You’ve proved me wrong, and I’m over the moon for you’.”

Meanwhile, Australia have turned to their former arch nemesis for spin bowling advice. Muttiah Muralitharan, the Sri Lankan spinner, was no-balled for throwing in the 1995 Boxing Day Test and was subsequently on the receiving end of continuous criticism about the legality of his action whenever he toured Australia.

The man with 800 Test wickets has now taken Australia’s off-spinner Nathan Lyon under his tutelage in Sri Lanka ahead of the Aussies’ series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in October. Murali will also be bowling at the batsmen in the nets to help them counter the threat of Saeed Ajmal.

Former Sussex bowler Naveed Arif has received a life ban from the England and Wales Cricket Board after pleading guilty to six breaches of its anti-corruption code. All of the charges related to Sussex’s 40-over match against Kent in August 2011.

Former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful was also banned for eight years for match-fixing. The Bangladesh Cricket Board issued the punishment after Ashraful pleaded guilty to being involved in fixing a match in the Bangladesh Premier League.


Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
We are all simultaneously donating to and stealing from those around us
lifeWe all need our own particular language to separate from the crowd
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments