England international Liam Plunkett will leave Surrey at the end of the season to play cricket in the USA.
Plunkett, 36, has committed to a three-year deal in which he will play and coach for Philadelphians – a team in the Eastern Division of Minor Cricket League – before being assigned to one of the six franchises in the Major League Cricket (MLC) for its inaugural season in 2023.
Plunkett’s wife, Emeleah, is American and he has previously spoken about being “open” to offers to help build the game in the States.
“You want to develop people,” he told The Independent.
“I’m a big fan of American sports and I believe there must be some hidden gems there. It won’t exactly be my role to find them, but I’m excited to share my experience with up-and-coming talent.”
Plunkett has spent three seasons at Surrey after moving from Yorkshire in 2018. He has also represented England 124 times across three different formats, taking 201 wickets, and was part of the squad which dramatically won the World Cup in 2019.
He was captured by the Welsh Fire for this season’s Hundred competition, but only played their opening game against Northern Superchargers before a calf injury ruled him out of the remainder of the competition.
“I would like to thank everyone at Surrey for the support and backing I have received over the last three years,” he said.
“The opportunities and professionalism provided by being part of the Surrey team is an experience I will cherish and take with me in my future endeavours.
“I’ve enjoyed a fantastic career with England, and after retiring from international cricket, I am delighted to be able to help build the sport in America in both playing and coaching capacities.”
Action Images via Reuters)
Plunkett’s however, won’t be confined to just one country. He can still play domestically in England and wants to feature in 2022’s Twenty20 Blast and The Hundred, where he is still contracted to the Fire.
He has however, downplayed the possibility of returning at international level. Under current ICC rules, residing in America for three years would make him eligible to represent them.
“Even if I did (intend to qualify),” he said.
“I’m 36 now – I’d be 39 or 40 when qualified. Who says I’m good enough?”
Plunkett came through the ranks at Durham, making his first-class debut in 2003, before joining Yorkshire in 2013. He won County Championship titles with both.