Plunkett warns Australia: England are a ‘different animal’ now

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BIRMINGHAM: Liam Plunkett has warned Australia that England are a “different sort of animal” from their predecessors as they prepare for their blockbuster World Cup semi-final.

The Ashes rivals meet in Birmingham on Thursday with defending champions Australia hoping to stay on track for a sixth title while England aim to stay in the hunt for their first.

Australia have the edge in terms of tournament experience and have won the past four World Cup meetings between the teams — including a group match earlier in this tournament — but Plunkett insists times have changed.

“They’ve been there and done it before but not against this bunch of players,” he said.

“We’re a different sort of animal compared to our last teams. We’ve played well for the past four years, we’re ranked number one and we feel in a good place. We feel on our day we can beat anyone in the world.”

Plunkett is the elder statesman of the current England squad, making his international bow as far back as 2005 and earning his previous taste of World Cup cricket 12 years ago in the West Indies.

He has witnessed the evolution of England’s one-day cricket and has never known a better mood.

“We had amazing players (previously) but I never thought we’d win a World Cup,” he said.

“We’ve made it exciting again. I’ve played in teams where we didn’t expect to win. With this squad the public expect us to win games and win series.

“It would be nice to finish this four-year cycle. This journey we’ve been on, with this group of boys, it comes down to this.”

At 34, Plunkett is unlikely to play in the 2023 event in India, meaning the next few days could give him the biggest stage of his career on which to perform.

“I think so,” he agreed. “I don’t think I’ll play another World Cup so for me personally, it’s the biggest.”