Gillespie surprised by Plunkett omission


Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie was baffled by the England selectors' decision to drop Liam Plunkett from the Test squad for the tour of South Africa.

Uncapped Surrey newcomer Mark Footitt got the nod for the four-match series against the top-ranked side in the longest format of the game.

Plunkett was included in the England squad for the recent Test series against Pakistan, but did not feature in the 2-0 defeat in the United Arab Emirates.

Former Australia paceman Gillespie is surprised the 30-year-old has been overlooked for the South Africa series, which starts next month.

"I've only exchanged a couple of messages with Liam, I know he is bitterly disappointed," said Gillespie.

"My only hope is that he's been given a specific reason why by the selectors because we were left scratching our heads a little bit.

"He's gone from almost playing to not being in a squad in conditions you would think would suit him - fast, bouncy wickets.

"He's one of the fastest bowlers in the country, so that's an interesting one."

Plunkett's Yorkshire team-mate Gary Ballance was recalled after being left out of the squad to face Pakistan, much to the delight of Gillespie.

He added: "We were all gutted for him when he was left out, and he was bitterly disappointed, but I think the way he has conducted himself, his attitude, has been first rate.

"Absolutely delighted for him, if he makes a final 11 during the tour I'm sure he'll grab that with both hands because he is an absolutely quality player."