Monday, 1 March 2010

Twenty20 specialism ignored

While the BBC Sport website emblazon the headline that Alastair Cook has not made the preliminary squad for the World Twenty20, it's worth noting the other players who probably should, ahead of Cook, who shouldn't. Just like normal captain Strauss, stand-in captain Cook has been deemed not 'twenty20' enough for the squad, and as such, will play no part in the Caribbean. And by all accounts, this is a good thing. The selectors have seen the shortest form of the game as a very specialist form, and as such have not selected some of the best 'cricketers' in the country. It has long been recognised that Strauss is to play no part in T20, so why should Cook's 50 tests guarentee him a place on the plane? Ultimately, it is about picking the right players for the format. And to be honest, I don't know if England have done that.

In the two previous World T20s England have selected a squad full of 'specialist' T20 players. Players who would otherwise not be in a fifty-over or test squad were suddenly propelled to the tournaments, with Darren Maddy, Jeremy Snape, Vikram Solanki, James Kirtley and Chris Schofield being picked in 2007, with Dimitri Mascarenhas, James Foster, Robert Key and Graham Napier selected for last year's event. While history has shown that England did not play well at the tournaments, I support the selection of good county Twenty20 players. However, if you look at the current 30 man squad, there doesn't appear to be many specialist T20 players in there (only Mascarenhas from the previously mentioned). Michael Lumb, Peter Trego and Steven Finn aside, there are no players who have been called in on the back of good T20 performances, with all players having either represented England previously or the Lions recently. While the 30 man squad does include the young talents of Finn, David Wainwright and Chris Woakes, it is doubtful whether any will make the final squad, with specialists ostracised from the party.

For last years tournament England made the bold selections of Key and Napier (on the back of continued county T20 excellence), but did not select Napier at all (even for warm-up games), and Key was only shoehorned in at the last minute for the Holland game before being bombed out. While they appeared to make a statement in the selection of Foster that they were looking for consistency behind the stumps, he has not been selected this time - as have Key and Napier, who also miss out. England will never succeed at T20 if they cannot retain some consistency in selection - 15 opening partnerships is testament to that. Of the 30 man squad it is also apparent that some players (Shah, Bopara, Mascarenhas) have been put in purely to justify their central contracts with no intention of taking them to the West Indies. So while England in the past have attempted to treat the 20 over format differently, we will no doubt see a rehash of the current 50 over touring side. Just without captain Cook.

England 30-man ICC World Twenty20 squad
Paul Collingwood (Durham, captain)
James Anderson (Lancashire)

Ian Bell (Warwickshire)
Ravi Bopara (Essex)
Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire)
Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire)

Steven Davies (Surrey)
Joe Denly (Kent)
Steven Finn (Middlesex)
Craig Kieswetter (Somerset)
Michael Lumb (Hampshire)
Sajid Mahmood (Lancashire)
Dimitri Mascarenhas (Hampshire)
Eoin Morgan (Middlesex)
Graham Onions (Durham)
Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire)
Liam Plunkett (Durham)
Matt Prior (Sussex)
Adil Rashid (Yorkshire)
Owais Shah (Middlesex)
Ajmal Shahzad (Yorkshire)
Ryan Sidebottom (Nottinghamshire)
Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire)

James Tredwell (Kent)
Peter Trego (Somerset)
Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire)
David Wainwright (Yorkshire)
Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)
Luke Wright (Sussex)
Michael Yardy (Sussex)

In bold are the 15 who will go to the World Cup. You have my word.

No comments:

Post a Comment