June 17, 2009

ICC World Twenty20

How closely are 50- and 20-over cricket linked?

Nishi Narayanan

While the Ashes will now dominate the thoughts of selectors and everyone else in England, at some point they need to review Twenty20 strategy, writes Richard Hobson in the Times.

The middle order clearly needs beefing up and Collingwood's role as nudger at No5 must be in jeopardy with Luke Wright, if he continues to open with Ravi Bopara, offering sup-port to the seam bowlers. England cannot afford to field a team with James Foster as high as No6 and Graeme Swann at 7, as they did two days ago. But it runs deeper than a tinker here or there. The underlying principle that Test players can adapt to any format must be re-evaluated.

In the Guardian Mike Selvey writes that Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower need to see where 50-over cricket fits in the scheme of things. Is it, despite the limited-overs format, closer to Test cricket than it is to Twenty20 cricket?

Before T20, of course, there was no such question, but since its inception, there has been the underlying feeling that T20 is an entity apart. Strauss maintaining the one-day captaincy is a manifestation of this. Were they to be innovative in their thinking, however, they might now want to take T20 as the blueprint and expand that to fit the 50-over game. Come at it from the opposite direction. It seems the natural thing to do because if England do not view it as such, you can bet your life that other teams will.

England were guilty of fudging their selections, writes Nasser Hussain in the Daily Mail.

I cannot see the logic in bringing Napier into the squad and not giving him a single chance to impress. Not even in a warm-up match. The consequence is that we have learned nothing about the man who has made his name in county cricket with his superb Twenty20 performances as a six-hitting batsman and bowler capable of bowling at 90mph. We simply do not know if he is capable of doing what he does for Essex with England.

Mike Atherton feels England's batting has shown no signs of improvement during the tournament but he is impressed by the bowling of Graeme Swann and the keeping of James Foster. He writes on skysports.com:

The current whisper doing the rounds is that if England play two spinners in the first Ashes Test at Cardiff, it is going to be Swann and Rashid. Time will tell if that is the case but if it is so, then it won't bode well for Monty Panesar's career plan because you'd have to think that there is more to come from Rashid. Similarly, James Foster is in the public eye now too. Everyone's talking about his glove-work and Matt Prior will be thinking 'I'm under pressure when I come back'. Foster's glove-work is exceptional - it has been for five years; every time I've watched him I've been of the mind that he is head-and-shoulders above every other wicketkeeper in English cricket behind the stumps.

England need to heed lessons for their Twenty20 future, especially with regard to their fielding and middle-order batting, Stephen Brenkley writes in the Independent.

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Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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