March 20, 2001

Globe-trotting Alleyne confident of a bright future


Mark Alleyne has certainly had a busy winter. You'd have thought that winning three one-day trophies with Gloucestershire during the 2000 season might earn him some sort of break, but far from it. His fourth tour of the 'off-season' has seem him re-join the full England one-day squad in Sri Lanka along with Andrew Flintoff, Nick Knight, Alan Mullally and Mark Ealham to play in the three match series starting in the new Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium on Friday.

Alleyne's winter cricket commitments have taken him to Kenya and the ICC KnoutOut tournament, then on to Pakistan for the one-day series, before travelling to the Caribbean to captain England's A team in the Busta Cup. He has now returned to full international duty, back with the one-day squad in Sri Lanka. A hectic winter for Alleyne, but one that he has enjoyed, and one that has enabled him to view many of England's finest players at close quarters.

Mark Alleyne
Alleyne: The future is bright
Photo © CricInfo

His judgement that the future looks bright for the national team is one based on plenty of experience then, and one that bodes well for England.

"I enjoyed captaining the A team because I felt I had a different role to the one I had the previous year when I was selected on merit and then they chose the captain, but this time I was selected as captain to try and help develop some of the younger players.

"I enjoyed that role of a father figure and liked the responsibility and I believe the future is still very bright for England. "

He picked out Ian Ward as a player ready for the step-up to Test level, explaining that: "He batted with a Michael Atherton-type temperament and looked pretty good."

But Alleyne did issue a warning about the rumoured abandonment of the A tours in favour of a new Academy tour.

"There have been thoughts about making it a younger, Academy-style thing and I'm not quite sure that will provide the Test team with immediate players coming through," he explained.

"We need these players to be playing good quality cricket and knocking on the door and as a concept, the A team has provided that - it's been successful for a long time and it would be a shame to see it go."

Now re-united with the full England squad, Alleyne believes that the new recruits will have a special responsibility to ensure that the one-day series is not an anti-climax for England after the drama and heroics of the Test series. Some of the Test players are likely to feel quite drained, he reasons, so the impetus provided by fresh faces could be crucial.

"It's up to the newcomers to make sure the practice sessions get going again. I know the guys who have been here all the time have given everything in the Test series, but I'm sure they will put everything into this last week and then collapse on the way home.

"It's natural for everyone to be focusing on the Test series after what happened but our thoughts are now turning to the one-day series and if we can win that on Sri Lankan soil it would be a major coup for us."

England will play a warm-up game tomorrow against a strong looking President Board's XI in Colombo.