Ian Baker - England must forget captaincy issue
19 Feb 2010 - 13:36:23
The impressive setting of Dubai Sports City forms a fine backdrop for England's two Twenty20 matches against Pakistan.
Cricket is already beginning to take shape in UAE and becoming more popular by the day. Big crowds are expected for the two matches in the desert.
Sadly, try as they might to talk them up, there is an impression that England's players are treating these games as glorified warm-ups - despite no other opportunities to practice their games in this format until their Twenty20 World Cup campaign gets underway in May.
Instead, all the pre-match talk seems to concern the captaincy for the Bangladesh tour that follows starting on Sunday.
With Paul Collingwood the Twenty20 skipper and Alastair Cook in charge in the other two formats in Bangladesh, there have been suggestions as to who will take the vice-captaincy.
Kevin Pietersen has emerged as a very serious contender. I don't feel he should ever have been dropped as captain but am not sure how he can possibly be considered to be Cook's deputy given his personality.
He's either the main man or one of the ranks. Stuart Broad and Collingwood himself are the only other two genuine options.
Given that Cook himself is very young with limited captaincy experience, it is a major worry that England do not appear to have an obvious choice as stand-in.
Put quite simply, England are lacking leaders in their team at the moment.
Is it such an important issue? Well, Bangladesh is a difficult place to tour and there is a fair chance that Cook (and indeed many of the other players) may go down with illness at some stage.
Coach Andy Flower and Cook therefore have no choice to pick an official vice-captain and it will be interesting to see what way they go.
Broad would be a brave choice. The young bowler is fast maturing into a fine all-rounder and like Cook is definitely one for the future. Collingwood has already stated he does not want to captain England in the longer form of the game while Pietersen has previously identified flaws.
For now, if England have serious aspirations to do well in the West Indies in the World Cup, they must focus clearly on the two matches against Pakistan. Leadership issues can wait a bit for now.
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