26th May: Chennai S. Kings v Mumbai I, 14:30 GMT
24th-28th May: 2nd Test, Headingley
England have a superb and rare opportunity to take the lead in world cricket by going one large step further than Australia recently, by selecting a specialist Twenty20 team which could win the ICC World Twenty20 to be staged on home soil later this year.
I do have some support for this theory. Bumble! The ex-England selector and now Sky pundit has suggested we need a different captain but I will go one further advocate a COMPLETELY different team for Twenty20 internationals. The current team of centrally contracted players have so obviously been found wanting and it’s depressing.
After the Stanford not-so-Super Series, we can pave the way for young exciting cricketers to be given the chance to play for England. David Warner has shown what can be done for Australia and this is merely a continuation of the ‘no-fear’ attitude of young players not concerned about their standing in the longer version of the game. Pick the form-men and let the Test and ODI team/players worry about their technique and concentration without being distracted by having to adapt to a game they do not play regularly.
Speaking to the BBC, England coach Andy Flower admits England have problems saying this week: "We would like more international Twenty20 cricket to investigate and get experience," and that with the World T20 looming, "It does leave us short of time."
However, he thinks that the upcoming ODI series with the West Indies "...can help us identify the people that are going to be successful in the shortened format of the game." WHAT?! NO, I say. It's too late and some players will never change and shouldn't be asked to.
He goes on to say that: "Of course we'd like to play more Twenty20 international cricket to investigate and get experience doing it. A lot of our guys in county cricket have played a lot of Twenty20 cricket - it's probably our international guys that are more inexperienced."
EXACTLY, and: "There are instances where you get specialists in Twenty20 cricket, definitely," he said.
And another thing - Andrew Strauss has more on his plate - like the Ashes - to worry about. Support yes but don't ask him to try and play a version of the game he doesn't need to. We have bigger fish to fry!
Who are they then? As I mentioned on Cricket World Radio in January, I’ll tell you...the winning 2008 Hong Kong 6s team led by Dimi Mascerenhas and possibly managed again by Ashley Giles. Oh yes and some selected current contracted players that have shown they can adapt to the requirements of the game. It’s a game within a game anyway and I’ll give my reasons after I’ve named the team that can win us the World T20 Cup.
The lucky 13 then is:
Dimi Mascerenhas, Darren Maddy, Graham Napier, Graham Wagg, Tim Bresnan, Ed Joyce, Jonathan Trott accompanied by the full England boys of Freddie, KP, Broady, Ravi, Swanny and Ace. Jimmy Anderson is on stand by and could make it up to 14.
It will also give every county player an incentive to shine at the highest level. Our own domestic T20 has some superb players and they should be in the reckoning. How we did not take Napier and Dimi to Antigua is beyond me. If ever you were due a game…and what had they NOT done to get picked? Who knows?!
Lastly as I climb down off my soapbox - why rely on bowling pace? Batters love it - swing away and you'll score heaps! Why Ravi Bopara and Paul Collingwood did not bowl more, I do not know.
What do you think? Have I lost the plot here or do I have a point? Who would you choose?
© Cricket World 2009