England build with three-pronged strategy
England have broken new ground by revealing three separate captains for international cricket, and now they must try to show that it can work.
Andrew Strauss's decision to concentrate exclusively on Test cricket has allowed the leadership position for one-day internationals to pass to Alastair Cook, long considered Strauss's heir apparent.
But the vote of confidence shown in the 26-year-old from Essex comes with a caveat. Cook has been judged as someone who can score quickly enough for 50-over cricket but not for 20-over cricket. This is despite an average of 33.36 at a strike-rate of 129.90 per 100 balls in domestic Twenty20.
It leaves a third position vacant, and rather surprisingly Stuart Broad gets the nod for the Twenty20 captaincy. He is a player who has frequently struggled to control his emotions in the heat of battle. Broad, 24, will also be the first specialist bowler to captain England since Bob Willis.
A holy trinity or a divisive splintering of responsibilities? Time will tell if the England and Wales Cricket Board have got this call right.
Assuming the third Test against Sri Lanka reaches its final day, Strauss will be barking out the orders at the Rose Bowl on 20 June, before Broad issues his own commandments four days later in Bristol on the eve of the one-off Twenty20 international.
On 28 June the reins of power pass to Cook when the one-day series begins. Let's just hope everyone remembers who should be in charge on which particular day.
For all his qualities in so many other regards, Strauss seldom looked an accomplished tactician during England's suspense-filled campaign at the World Cup in February and March.
England's best result came when they beat South Africa, but Strauss nearly jeopardised that by bowling spinners Michael Yardy and Kevin Pietersen in tandem when the situation was crying out for Broad and James Anderson to blow away the tail.
We cannot say whether Cook will make better calls than Strauss in tight situations in 50-over cricket, but he avoided a possible banana skin when standing in for the Middlesex man in Bangladesh last year, winning all three one-dayers and both Tests while scoring runs.
Perhaps Cook's biggest task of all will be to attempt to get a tune out of Pietersen, who since being stripped of the captaincy himself in January 2009 has struggled badly in one-day cricket.
England hope three captains will work better than one or two
In 12 ODIs as captain Pietersen averaged 52.28. Shockingly, in 27 matches since losing the stripes he has not made a century and averages a woeful 23.78.
There will also be new players to blood. England struggled to accelerate their run rate at the World Cup and now is an excellent time to try some of the new batsmen around the counties. Nottinghamshire's Alex Hales, a solid striker of the ball, is one of those who may come into the frame.
As captain, Cook will play a vital role in helping any newcomers bed into the team, and England may try to experiment in the way other teams have at this stage in the four-year cycle - resting key members at judicious intervals to get a good look at the fringe players.
Remember, nothing is vital in 50-over cricket until the next World Cup comes along in Australia and New Zealand in 2015. Cook's job is to ensure that, about three years from now, he has a nucleus of players who know where they will bat and how many overs they are likely to have to bowl.
He can only do that by making sure he has the necessary support from a management who for too long have not accorded one-day cricket the respect it deserves.
Thankfully, the 2015 World Cup will not be preceded by a strength-sapping Ashes tour which left the players mentally and physically exhausted, as had also been the case in 2003 and 2007.
Cook will also have to lead by example, forming a close bond with whoever he is called upon to open the batting with, and show that the increased range of shot-making he demonstrated during his outstanding Ashes series - with cut shots, cover-drives and slog-sweeps - can lend itself to one-day internationals
Broad takes over from Paul Collingwood in the game's shortest format a year after the Durham all-rounder successfully steered England to an unexpected success in the ICC World Twenty20.
The blond paceman, who has shown patches of serious batting potential, has never captained a side before at any level, including during his days at Oakham School.
He was pointedly accused by one journalist at Lord's on Thursday of showing "petulant" behaviour in the past. (His past indiscretions include throwing the ball at Pakistan's Zulqarnain Haider during the second Test at Edgbaston last year, a misjudgement which cost him half his match fee.)
Perhaps responsibility will allow him to channel his energies more appropriately since he is a hugely important player across all three formats for England.
One way or another, he was clearly able to demonstrate his leadership potential during the interview process that the ECB conducted before announcing the new captaincy set-up.
Broad will lead the side in two one-off matches this summer before England defend their world title next year in Sri Lanka, and it will be fascinating to see how certain players, many of whom will be considerably older than Broad, react to his captaincy.
Graeme Swann and Pietersen, both of whom must have come under consideration for the Twenty20 captaincy, may not find it easy to take orders from Broad.
The three-way split will be a suck-it-and-see affair for a year or so. Coach Andy Flower has admitted as much.
It is hard to gauge whether or not he genuinely expects it to work, and it may be no great calamity if, in time, a change needs to be made.
Certainly, three captains seems at least one too many. But facing a hectic schedule, and by design or otherwise, England might have inadvertently arrived at a new blueprint for dealing with the complex burden of international cricket.