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England build with three-pronged strategy

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Oliver Brett | 15:59 UK time, Thursday, 5 May 2011

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.

Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Stuart Broad

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.


  • Comment number 1.

    Swann deserves to be captain of the ODI and the T20 team. Really can't fathom how the ECB can appoint a player who isn't a regular of the team as captain to be honest.

  • Comment number 2.


    Why does he? He may be our best player (arguably) but that doesn't necessarily make him a good captain. It could be a burden too far on our most important (arguably) player.

  • Comment number 3.

    I suppose having 3 different captains creates leaders in the squad. Then again too many 'cooks' spoil the broth! (pun intended)

  • Comment number 4.

    @1 I believe this is more commonly referred to as Ian Botham syndrome.

    the guy should have a made a brilliant captain his knowledge of the game just from commentating is quite clearly well versed. however the man couldn't take on the responsibility of batting, bowling and captaining the side all at once. We took the captaincy away and well the rest is history.

    But yes you really don't to overburden player some rise to the occasion as I believe Strauss has others fall apart.

  • Comment number 5.

    Good call by the ECB.
    Cook should have gone to the WC in the form he was in, nothing wrong with Strauss giving that up. Leads to a united Test/one day captaincy in time, once Strauss retires completely.
    T20 is a different game entirely and merits a different captain. Could have gone to any of Broad/Swann/Pietersen, but perhaps this resposibility will have a good effect on Broad.

  • Comment number 6.

    Not saying that Cook shouldn't be capn of the ODI team but why wasn't he at the WC?????

  • Comment number 7.

    How can you appoint a man as captain of a team he wouldn't normally get picked in????

    I know they want to blood him into the test captains role, but the one day team will suffer and cook's test form will also probably suffer


  • Comment number 8.

    Is Cook one of our best ODI batsmen? No. But this position now guarantees him a place in the team.

    Is he such a good captain that the above doesn't matter? No. Not yet anyway.

  • Comment number 9.

    To address a common theme (comments 5-8) there is a paradox of sorts that a player not considered good enough to feature in the World Cup squad, and who has barely played since, is suddenly good enough not only to play in the one-day side but to be captain of it as well. However, I believe the additional range of shots he developed during his Ashes preparations, combined with Strauss's departure, make Cook a viable long-term prospect as an ODI opener.

    On another note, it has been suggested elsewhere that Broad and Cook are essentially competing against each other to win the right to lead England at the 2015 World Cup. I'd expect very different styles of leadership from the two of them, will be interesting to observe...

  • Comment number 10.

    The key to captaincy is to keep cool and calm when u are under pressure just like MS Dhoni...he is perfect at that never loses his head..Now can Cook keep his cool - probabaly yes whereas Broad - I dont think so...

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm sure this will be an unpopular opinion, but personally I say stuff the World Cup, lets make sure we keep winning the Ashes.

  • Comment number 12.

    As I recall, Strauss wasn't in the ODI team when he was announced as the Test & ODI captain: as soon as he took on the captaincy he became a different ODI player: the only England centurion in that tour of the West Indies, and regularly scoring at more than a run a ball since then, culminating in that fantastic 158 at the World Cup. Cook's been scoring well domestically in the shorter formats, and I see no reason he shouldn't be in the ODI side, particularly with Strauss retiring from ODIs. My guess is he would have been at the World Cup but the England management were concerned about the potential scoring rate if he'd opened with Strauss. With Strauss gone Cook's job will be to open and anchor the innings, just Like Strauss has been doing for the last couple of years.

  • Comment number 13.

    I for one am excited about the new capatins.
    Broad is going to be an in your face captain which - i think - will control the 'big characters' in the team very well because hes cut from the same cloth as his father. Willing to stand up for what he thinks is right. Which in Twenty20 you have to be strong and on the button because its so fast

    Cook is going to be the steady hand - same as Struass - and when Struass retires Cook will take over the test and keep the ODI's.

    I just feel England need a 'big character' incharge of the ODI's and keep the steady hands to the Tests.

  • Comment number 14.

    @ 11 northernsuperspur
    This is d mentality u english guys have to change dat lets just keep on winning d ashes..dat is why u are not successful in the 50 over game..Ashes is a big thing but its not d only thing n as such we Indians are coming in the summer n dat will be the real challenge for england...

  • Comment number 15.

    I can see it working in all 3 formats

    Strauss: gives him more time to concentrate fully on tests, and not have to worry about losing form in ODIs
    Cook: the next test Capt in waiting
    Broad: very canny T20 player, who will be in the team for many years.

  • Comment number 16.

    Ultimately this depends on the personalities involved and whether one can accept that the other is calling the shots in the different formats.
    I do find it strange that Cook is good enough for the 50 over game but not suited to 20-20. I would have been inclined to let Cook try both.
    Broad is an unknown quantity as captain. It will be either inspired to let him have the responsibility so quick or it will be a burden.

    To #1 hothead, I think Swann is more useful as a squad player. Swann likes to joke and make fun of people and generally wind people up-just read his twitter! He is one of those players who makes the dressing room fun, but would that work if he was a captain?
    Besides I am sure the captaincy question was asked of several individuals and their inputs shaped the final decisions. Some, I am sure ruled themselves out.

  • Comment number 17.

    first of all why appoint cook, when he has no idea of playing one day cricket, why give cook who only played 3 times in two years in odi, there were other players who would've suited them better kevin, or swann love that guy giving captains two to bright young players who only damage them, look at most other teams captains they are at a matured aged, dhoni, oh well this how the ecb make england look stupid, there coudlve been trott, ian bell

  • Comment number 18.

    Why not attempt to get Pietersen back on track by giving him the added responsibility of captaincy? His average was excellent as captain plus he plays with a great deal of pride so wouldn't giving him another chance be appropriate during this time of experimentation?

  • Comment number 19.

    The 50 over Captain should be someone who is part of the first choice 11 (& will be around for the next World Cup).

    As Scaryjim stated however, Strauss wasn't in the 1 day team when he took on the Captaincy & that gamble paid off. Is it a risk trying it again with Cook?

    Oliver, I think you'll find that Cook came up with the slog sweep for the Bangladesh tour with Gooch's help, not at the last Ashes.

    Michael Vaughan advocated Broad as 50 over captain so I don't know why his appointment is such a surprise & why he can't be given a stab at Captaining both 1 day teams.

    Who else under 30 (still be in top form at the next World Cup) is a regular in both 1 day formats?

    Nasser had a temper don't forget & made a decent England Captain.

  • Comment number 20.

    It shows England's priority.

    Best captain: Strauss: Test
    Second best captain: Cook: 50 ODI
    Third best captain: Broad: 20/20

    It shows that we are aiming to become the best test side in the world. It shows that even though we won the 20/20 world cup, we're leaving it up to a 24 year old to lead the squad and it shows and that Cook - the unpredictable batsman is being relied upon to reinvigorate a poor England showing at the 50 world cup.

  • Comment number 21.

    Ali Cook was probably one of the stand out domestic List A and T20 players last year. He deserves his chance and should probably have played in front of Strauss if Strauss wasn't captain. However, there is no way you can play two players of similair scoring rates opening up the innings. What with Trott coming in at 3, they had to try a more attacking batsman up top. IMHO, with Strauss retiring, the ECB are quite right to appoint Cook as the anchoring opener and skipper. Broad as T20 skipper however, I think petulant is too kind a word to describe him. The sooner he fails and the ECB get rid of him again, the better.

  • Comment number 22.

    I don't think it should be a problem. Cricket is different from soccer and a lot of other sports in that in itself, there are three versions of the game which are quite different to each other even if fundamentally they are the same (2 batsmen and 11 in the fielding/bowling team). In fact, having 3 captains could be very good given how much cricket is being played in total considering all three forms - surely the time will come when we will see a totally different XI for T20, 50 over cricket and tests respectively. England are fortunate enough to have the depth to field 3 captains and given that Strauss is entering the autumn of his career now, this will allow the likes of Cook and Broad to be given their chance to develop as potential captains.

  • Comment number 23.

    It's great news for England as regards test match cricket. Straus can concenttrate solely on that & not worry about what follows a test series. As for the limited overs games, 2 captains will probably work as each can concentrate on his own strengths.

  • Comment number 24.

    Don't have a problem with Captain Alastair Cook's batting - he took the extra responsibility in his stride last year. Several 50s in the ODIs (at a 90+ SR) and a couple of Test hundreds. He may have a relatively low range of shots, but he is a better one-day player than he is given credit for.

    The big issue will be the tactical side. There are concerns that he was unimaginative in his brief tenure last year. The only way to find out is to give him a go though, and he's got some good tests coming up in Sri Lanka and India.

    As for the split captaincy, the likeness of Strauss and Cook shouldn't cause much of an issue. Hussain and Vaughan didn't work because they were very different captains and it created different atmospheres - Hussain recognised this quickly and quit Tests too. Broad is more outwardly emotional, he's an aggressive cricketer but that can overflow to petulance. This would be a worry if he were ODI captain, but as it is, he'll only be captain for less than 5 matches a year (except when there's a T20 World Cup).

    As for a bowler as T20 captain, I don't have a problem with it. In Tests it could be unwise - Flintoff over-bowled himself to the point of injury whilst he was Test captain. Twenty20 is as the name suggests, just 20 overs. Not much can go wrong. Broad can't bowl more than 4 overs, so can't over-bowl himself.

    This summer, I'm looking forward to some evolution in the Test and T20 teams. A new Test #6 (Taylor's my choice, but rumours are it will be Bopara), and opportunities for the likes of Stokes and Buttler (and Patel if fit) to improve the T20s lower-order hitting.

    Cook has the harder role, in that the ODI team still seems to have fundamentally wrong issues. A return for either Davies or Kieswetter, and the addition of James Taylor are the obvious choices, but there are big question marks over Pietersen and a second-spinner, a normal sized question mark over Anderson and Bopara, and a smallish one over Bell (who, despite the question mark was my choice for the captaincy. Cook's presence in the side means we may need to choose between Bell and KP or risk continuing with the same batting line-up).

  • Comment number 25.

    3 x toffs, good lads and fine players but toffs all the same.

  • Comment number 26.

    The usual puzzling mess made by the selectors. Cook may be a good one day player at domestic level but doesn't cut the mustard at international level. Which other international team would pick him as an opener in 50 over cricket...none of the other top six and probably not Bangladesh.

    And Broad as a captain? It's doubful whether he yet has the maturity to lead a school 1st XI.

  • Comment number 27.

    It just shows Englands intent to groom their youngest/best to be captains for the Test team in the future.

  • Comment number 28.

    Time will tell. We needed something to freshen us up after our world cup performance. We need to give them all at least 3 series to see where they stand. Broad has it hardest as he is going to have to play in all 3 formats his form could suffer, but t20 is such a quick game i think he could be perfect for the role. And although Cook was one of our best performers in the ashes his form before wasnt great this decision could make or brake him personnally i am not an admirer of Cooks especially in the one day game but it is giving him somewhere to cut his teath in and amung the players he will one day lead (although this shows how lacking we are at the moment in the way of a true leader). I hope Broad suprises people and takes the captaincy from under Cooks nose. And to finish on a question if Cook is Strauss' deputy that MUST make Broad Cooks who will be Broads???? as the other 2 aren't getting in that team at the still leaves for plenty of movement

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    Let's get one thing straight. Captain or not Cook would now be a definate selection in the ODI team. The England setup seem to like the idea of a solid player at the top and now that Strauss is not going to be that man then Cook is the obvious choice.

    It also ensures that Cook gets good experience captaining the players which should lead to him being able to step up with no problems to the test role when needed.

    The same idea is being played out with Broad, give him some experience and exposure in the T20 role before probably inheriting the ODI role as well later. I believe there is also thinking that the captaincy may force Broad to think a bit more widely about whats happenning on the field than he does at the moment, which in turn could well lead to him taking a more measured and tactical approach rather than his at times tendency to overthink and overpressurise himself which leads to his outbursts. I expect to see Broad actually play less ODI cricket as a result of this, it's hard enough for a player to physically cope with all three formats without the extra burden of captaincy.

    England clearly need to think about building captains of their own because these players have so little chance to learn the role these days. Time was the team contained 5 or 6 county captains but as they rarely play county games anymore they are never given the captaincies.

  • Comment number 31.


  • Comment number 32.

    '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' - Oliver Brett

    This isn't right. Should be:
    'Thankfully the 2015 World Cup will not be a distraction for the England players whose focus is on winning The Ashes'

  • Comment number 33.

    It's just such a safe, unimaginative decision to go with Cook. And I think safe and unimaginative will sum up his captaincy (and his batting). Hope to be proved wrong.

    This was a chance to shake things up a bit with the ODI team and so far it's same old, same old. Hopefully some of the selections will prove to be a bit more inspired.

  • Comment number 34.

    Given England's heavy workload it makes sense to try out this experiment so some plaudits to the ECB for sharing the workload between Straussy, Cooky & Broady - it'll be interesting to see how this one pans out and I hope it succeeds. As for the negative comments how do you folks know until you give it a go (and yes, I'm aware of the Hussain/ Vaughan axis but they're 2 contrasting characters !!)

  • Comment number 35.

    Why this trio aproach is a no brainer is,we have a class act head above all three.With a sharper and more concise cricket brain and is world class.Pieterson Keven.

  • Comment number 36.

    So who is England's captain?

  • Comment number 37.

    They are all nice guys and fine players. But three public school boys does little to promote the game's image as a national sport, especially in the cities. Cricket has always been played by all classes and it needs to promote this image to survive. If not it will end up like hockey or polo.

  • Comment number 38.

    37. At 10:37am 6th May 2011, TAH wrote

    Not Cook's fault he won a scholarship at a decent school.

  • Comment number 39.

    32. I'm sorry but just winning the Ashes every so often while being an embarrassment at every World Cup is simply not good enough when you consider the vast resources the ECB has at its disposal.

  • Comment number 40.

    Another point that has been lost from yesterday is the coach also needs a rest from touring to refresh himself.I have really heard it all know.
    Every test player to tired to tour for his country would then gladly walk to play in the IPL.Indeed watch out for the English coach refreshing himself during the IPL,and taking up some lucrative coahing consulting role for some IPL team.

  • Comment number 41.

    Oliver Brett:

    Why should England focus on the 50 over format when journalist's were lamenting it's demise until the financial powerhouse won a few months ago?

    Tests has always been the fan favourite, usually the player preference and therefore should be the focus for the ECB.

  • Comment number 42.

    Interested to see Alex Hales' name being mentioned. There is a void left by Paul Collingwood in the test squad that needs filling and I haven't heard much about the candidates to replace him. Bopara? He's failed twice before. Morgan? Unconvincing against Bangladesh. I think it's a bit early for Hales personally, I'd like to see him dominate in County Cricket for a while longer yet, but he certainly has potential for tests and T20 (having hit 55 in an over once!

  • Comment number 43.

    This is actually the link I meant to put on in my post above

  • Comment number 44.

    I don't think it matters too much whether cook was at the world cup, this appointment is a clear indication that within the next 3 years he's going to be test captain. He has gone away to domestic cricket to figure out the limited overs game, and now has 4 years to steadily improve and work towards the world cup.

    Broad as a t20 captain is another good choice.

  • Comment number 45.

    Don't see the difficulty with Cook not going to the WC - you were never going to play Strauss and Cook at the top of the order together.

    50 over and Test Cricket are far more akin with t20 the odd one out - 50:50 and t20 are very different.

    Don't see the problem with Cook I think he'll play well and should have gone to the WC and would have if Strauss wasn't Capt. If we had A N Other player who was bating at 3-5 or keeping wicket who was capt Cook would have gone.

    As for Broad I think it's a good move as he will clearly make the side and there will be less need for him to juggle bowling in t20. Also a slight footnote in general I think Broad would not be a test Capt as it is often the downfall of bowler Capts to try and take all on their shoulders and overbowl themselves.

    I think it may just work with England if they can keep the previous dressing room spirit.

  • Comment number 46.

    Why three separate captains?

    As you may recall, Broad has been disciplined for petulant on-field conduct. A captain must have a cool head and lead by example.

    I agree with the commenter who thinks that Swann should be ODI and T/20 skipper. He is an accomplished player with a good temperament. I cannot understand why he was overlooked by the ECB.

    Will this triumvirate work to England's advantage? We shall see!

  • Comment number 47.

    People saying Cook shouldn't be captain because he wasn't in the World Cup are ridiculous. It should be blatantly obvious that players in a team that can't beat the Netherlands or Ireland aren't good enough to represent England at all. I can't think of anyone who is more suitable to step up to the mark than Cook, and people who think Swann should be captain are talking nonsense. He shouldn't even be considered for captain as he is a joker and keeps morale high in the camp, if you gave him a role of authority this would damage the team even more. Everyone, in the squad, knows and respects Cook and he has been prolific in the one day format for Essex in recent seasons.

  • Comment number 48.

    Highest no. of wins for an ODI skipper is Punter's 164. The highest number for an England captain is Michael Vaughan's 32. The menage a trois doesn't have too much to live up to. A few other stats and thoughts here if of interest:

  • Comment number 49.

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion, no matter how daft it is!

  • Comment number 50.

    My point was nothing against public school boys - a rather dated prejudice anyway - more that the image of the game is increasingly that of being one for the well-off (ticket prices, falling number of pros from state schools) and that this is potentially limiting its broader attraction.

  • Comment number 51.

    i think Alistair Cook would be a great ODI captain, he has the mental strength to bat through an innings feed the strike and have the attacking batsmen bat around him. give him a chance, he reminds me of a Stephen Fleming type player hopefully hes as good a tactician...

  • Comment number 52.

    Personally I think it's an excellent idea to split responsibility and give 3 people their own baby to think about. There is so much cricket to play, even 2 of the jobs are a big ask, the danger being that one of them will not be attended to properly. In many walks of life, professional people have to work together for one cause. Good luck to all of them.

  • Comment number 53.

    With so much of cricket each season, 3 captains for 3 versions of the game is a healthy ploy. Moreover Strauss, Cook and Broad are all test players. They will remain fresh to take proactive decisions when captaining their squad for their specific missions. Best wishes to the trio.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 54.

    I'm astonished that you think KP worthy of consideration as an England captain! Further, the biggest task facing the Earl of Essex is coming to terms with the tactical vagaries of batting power-plays. The England batting coach also needs to get his head around England's ODI banana skin. As I see it, the naturally gifted timers of the ball are best suited to hit over the in-field. That might mean Bell back in the middle order. Until we learn to profit consistently from our BPPs we're going nowhere.

    Good luck to the Holy Trinity (hope that doesn't provoke a fatwah or whatever they're called against me).

  • Comment number 55.

    Oliver, you gave 32 a ticking-off. I'm kind of sympathetic to 32 but also get your drift. It's not really about the Ashes, it's about our test standing. That's what matters most to ticket-buying fans. No disrespect intended to you and your colleagues, but we pay good money to go to games. Personally I don't give a fig for ODI status. If Cook does well, I'll be delighted for him and for England. But most ODI series are meaningless money spinners. They're rarely entertaining. Test cricket is where it's at. In my opinion, the greatest sporting spectacle. Test cricket is the raison d'etre of the ECB.

  • Comment number 56.

    Sorry, I meant to add to my 55 that the ICC WC is NOT thé equivalent of FIFA WC. Discuss! There endeth the lesson.


  • Comment number 57.

    I for one am glad to see the back of Collingwood.

    His T20 track record is rather ho hum.

    I think it's better that we have England captains from counties south of the Trent (or thereabouts) who have a better understanding of what's required, on and off the ground.

  • Comment number 58.

    Welcome to the twilight zone, we control the horizontal, we control the vertical, we do not control the england and wales cricket board, how-ever difficult to decide, one captain for all three, ok three vice captain's maybe, is there no one out there,

  • Comment number 59.

    Looking forward to hearing Stuart Broad's "platitude overload" press conferences as captain. I hope Geoffery is not in the room asking "difficult" questions.

    I don't watch T20 cricket anyway, so I don't care.

  • Comment number 60.

    Interesting blog, Oliver, but wasn't John Emburey the last specialist bowler to captain England? Two tests in the ill-fated "summer of five captains" in 1988, as I recall.

  • Comment number 61.

    Having Cook as ODI captain now makes a good deal of sense. Some people worry about his lack of imagination and tactical nouse, but surely it is better to let him gain the experience and show what he can do now (when quite frankly there is very little worth playing for), so that by the time Strauss retires from Tests Cook will either be a better captain or the ECB will know that he is too limited to captain the Test side.

    Broad as T20 captain is an odd one, especially as Colly didn't resign. I think it's a bit unfair on a man who captained us to our first (and so far only) limited overs international honour to be stripped of the captaincy when his T20 record is still very good.

    And in response to TAH (posts 37 and 50) - If I had to guess I'd say the majority of the population don't know and don't care where a person is educated because, not coming from private schools, we don't think along those lines. People follow cricket because they enjoy the game; if the captain delivers good cricket he can have had the most expensive education in the world and nobody will care in the slightest. On the other hand a 'man of the people' who gets the team whitewashed in a series is not exactly likely to draw the punters in, despite any empathy they might have for his humble origins.

  • Comment number 62.

    incredible to think that England can sack the one captain who has won an international trophy to be replaced by the blond haired blue eyed son of a former test player who has never captained any side of any description... it beggers beleif..Hes a nice lad. but how can you take it away from the guy who holds the world record number of t20 wins... ?? its like Man U sacking Alex ferguson in June

  • Comment number 63.

    Talk about Cook's prolific one day season for Essex seems to suggest he is a shoe-in for the team!

    Two things. Why then wasn't he selected for the ODI team after the 2010 season? He hasn't played a one day game since. So how has he improved his ODI game in the meantime?

    Second, his 40-over season for Essex in 2010 wasn't prolific at all. In fact it was rather meagre compared to other contenders selected ahead of him.

    Oliver Brett doesn't mention Cook's recent 40-over form (the nearest we have to the 50-over format). Is that because in 2010 Cook averaged 33 with a SR of 83? This compares to Bell's average in the same season of 61 with a SR of 100.

    Bell was selected for the team but was batted down the order out of position for most of the Tour. He was given one game to open against Sri Lanka in the quarter finals, when everyone was totally depleted, although he had opened brilliantly in the opening practice match in Canberra, 124* with a SR of 121.

    Meanwhile we had experiments with Prior and then KP opening despite Prior's continual failure and KP carrying an injury. Prior had been brought in by Flower above the selectors' heads. He averaged 11.

    This mismanagement has never been examined. Flower has now promoted his old team mate Cook as a gamble. But Cook has never excelled at 50-over cricket, before the Bangladesh Tour his average was 30. Is Bangladesh really a guideline for promotion, especially when Cook's recent domestic form in 40-over remains well below the claims of others?

    Flower took over a long term batting Test side that has altered very little, the addition of Trott being the only major change in place of Vaughan. He took a chance on Bopara who failed. But in the 50 over game he has floundered, trying out a stream of players, including ones from his successful WC Twenty20 squad who couldn't make the grade in 50 overs.

    Flower's ODI players who weren't in the Ashes series should have performed. In fact the best batsmen, despite their long gruelling ordeal, were Trott, Strauss and Bell in that order. Bell played in every single game on 5 month Tour in all 3 forms of the game and wasn't rested once. He also played out of position the entire ODI Tour until the final game.

    But Flower's mis-management has been glossed over. The elevation of Cook could turn out to be the disaster that was Prior. Both picked because of their Ashes success without regard to their 50-over game.

    Flower has not cracked the 50 over format and was tinkering with players and order of play all through the WC. All attention has been focussed on the punishing schedule for the Ashes members of the side. But what of Yardy, Morgan, Wright, Bopara, Tredwell, who were not in the Test side?

    Now Flower has come up with a new captain - based on what exactly? Interviews?

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 65.


    But OB does explain or at least offer a theory about how Cook may have since become éligible for limited overs captaincy: his increased range of shots during his utter domination of Australia's various attacks during the winter.

  • Comment number 66.

    I think everyone's missing the point about why Broad is a mistake.
    He's a fast bowler!! HE'LL GET INJURED TOO OFTEN. Bet he's not fit for at least one of the 20-20's

  • Comment number 67.

    @11, northernsuperspur

    Your right as long as we win the ashes are in the top 3 test sides, thats all that matters. It was great we won the T20 WC but no one really cares, all English cricket followers would swap T20 and OD WC's for an ashes win any day of the week.

    For what its worth I think Broad will make an excellent captain of the T20, he only bowls 4 overs.

  • Comment number 68.

    To me this looks a little like a conveyor belt to the test captaincy: currently grooming Cook to take over from Strauss in two years time, with Broad to step up to the 50-over captaincy after that - if all goes to plan (and it seldom does). It may be the best solution in a situation where the successful test skipper clearly has little further appetite for the shorter form of the game, so some form of hierarchy may help offset any tendency towards fractiousness and competition between the skippers.

    On Botham @1, I think the best Test captains have generally been reflective thinkers and plotters - Hutton, Brearley, Illingworth, Vaughan for England - and Botham was certainly not that - much more instinctive and emotional as a player, and certainly not reflective. The captaincy clearly didn't suit him. I think Flintoff was in a similar mould. Strauss and Cook are clearly thinkers and plotters, but I'm unsure as yet about Broad and it will be interesting to see how he does.

  • Comment number 69.

    I sometimes wonder if the ECB is working for a foreign power. Three captains??? If they all played in all forms of the game, suppressing the egos of the non-captaining captains would be a major problem. I suppose you could have two vice-captains, but that would make tactical discussions a major Summit! Strauss just for Tests is a no-brainer. Since Cook's brilliance at Brisbane, cemented in the rest of the Ashes Series, his confidence, technique, and scoring rate have improved so much that he should be an automatic selection for ODIs and 20x20. I doubt if his temperament is suited to ODI captaincy, though - too many rapid tactical decisions needed. How about Swann for ODI and 20x20 captaincy? Broad is wrong for so many reasons - injury prone and tendency to childish tantrums to mention just two.

  • Comment number 70.


    I suppose you approve of the manner of collingwood's dismissal too.
    What are you talking about with this 'south of the Trent' nonsense. And what exactly does 'ho hum' mean? Yawn

  • Comment number 71.

    It has been 11 days now since OB posted this article. What is going on, no new news?

    The Windies just eked out a morale-boosting win in an intriguing Test in Providence and no discussion board is open on it?

    I bet it it were England and Pakistan, the boards would have been abuzz!

    After all, if England are not involved, who gives a rat's a**?

  • Comment number 72.

    It seems that greater the number of captains the better it is. Therefore why not try with 4 captains; they could be rotated in a normal or a confused sequence!
    Zaltman would be delighted. LOL


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