Saturday, 23 June 2007

Another new ODI Era

Paul Collingwood has had very limited captaincy experience, but he is an experienced one-day international player, a fine team man and a thoroughly worthy choice to lead England’s latest ODI era.

Collingwood, when asked for the qualities he brings to the side, once remarked upon his “ginger hair”; his fighting qualities have never been in doubt. He is, some would say, the safe choice but, with Kevin Pietersen having said he did not want the job, he was virtually the only choice. Collingwood’s friendship with Michael Vaughan and the fact he clearly shares the same cricketing values means, insomuch as it is possible, having two captains should cause very few problems.

His introduction will be almost as gentle as they come against a West Indian side lacking consistency with the bat and penetration with the ball.

The road to ODI success will be a long one. England will hope their overhaul of the top three begins smoothly, with the contrasting gifts of Alastair Cook, Matt Prior, who should not think of himself as a ‘pinch-hitter’ but seek to play in the attacking, yet not reckless, manner of his opening Tests and either Ian Bell or the newcomer Jonathan Trott. Trott is an unlikely selection but offers top-order aggression, while it must be hoped the supremely gifted Owais Shah is given a fair chance to showcase his talents – ideally at five, although this is where Collingwood would like to bat.

In the bowling department, Ryan Sidebottom has the chance to do what Jon Lewis has yet to be given the chance to, despite his excellent record, and cement himself as a regular in the one-day side as a stock bowler, England’s Nathan Bracken. Dimitri Mascarenhas has the attributes to be a modern-day Mark Ealham, while the highly promising Stuart Broad has made an excellent earl impression and has the temperament to thrive in the international scene. Liam Plunkett and James Anderson, meanwhile, will be aiming simply for a semblance of consistency.

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