ICC World Twenty20 March 1, 2010

Cook omitted from World Twenty20 squad

Cricinfo staff

Alastair Cook, England's Test and ODI captain, has been omitted from England's 30-man provisional squad for the World Twenty20 that starts in April in the Caribbean. Cook's new ODI opening partner, Craig Kieswetter, has been included, alongside Peter Trego and Michael Lumb, after their success on the England Lions tour to UAE.

Cook's omission came as something of a snub after he was named in the recent Twenty20 party that played two matches against Pakistan in Dubai, and although his accumulatory style is not best suited to the cut and thrust of the 20-over format, he showed impressive form for Essex in last season's Twenty20 Cup, and was England's most fluent batsman with a brisk 64 in their 50-over victory against Bangladesh in Dhaka on Sunday.

Cook himself had been unaware that the 30-man squad was imminent when asked about it after the first ODI, but said he hoped he had done enough to demonstrate that he has what it takes to succeed. However, according to Geoff Miller, the national selector, who met with England's coach Andy Flower prior to the team's departure for the UAE, he is still some way short of meriting a place in the set-up.

"We didn't think Alastair was a 20-over player so consequently he wasn't selected," said Miller. "He knows the decision and he's obviously very much improving in 50-overs, and that might develop his Twenty20 too. But there's a dramatic difference between 50-over cricket and Twenty20. We don't feel he has gone over that mark to be part of our Twenty20 squad, but that does not mean he's out of it [for good]."

England's spinner, Graeme Swann, who has been named in the 30-man party, said before the announcement that the gulf between the formats was growing. "I think the games are too different to be honest," he said. "The games in Dubai, we focussed on those as our practice for the World Twenty20. I think 50-over and Twenty20 are completely different games these days. Certainly as a spin bowler, every single ball you know guys are going to try to hit you for four or six, whereas in 50-over cricket you can try to put a decent spell together."

Lions pacemen Steven Finn and Chris Woakes have both included, while Sajid Mahmood holds his place despite struggling in his recent Twenty20 outings for England against South Africa. There is no place, however, for James Foster, Robert Key and Graham Napier, all of whom featured in the 15-man party for the 2009 tournament in England.

Owais Shah and Ravi Bopara, who are both set to go to the IPL but did not feature in England's squad for the recent T20s against Pakistan, are both included - and for Bopara, it is his first mention in an England squad since he was dropped for the Ashes decider at The Oval in August, after struggling through the first four Tests of the series. He has since been in New Zealand, rediscovering his form in their domestic Twenty20 tournament.

"Ravi's been reassessing himself," said Miller. "He had a bit of a torrid time; he knew that. He's gone away, gone abroad and looked after his career, and done really well. He's a vital part of our squad, and we still think a lot about him. So when he comes back we'll have a look and see where he is."

Shah's return is conceivably his last chance in an England career that dates back to 2001. He played 50 consecutive ODIs up to and including the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa last September, but was outspoken in his criticism of the selectors after being dropped for the bilateral series in South Africa that followed soon afterwards.

"We know he's a quality player," said Miller. "He had a bit of a rough time. We needed to see a little bit more so left him out [recently] but we still feel he has something to offer. He's going to the IPL, so [we hope] he can put in a few performances there."

Another interesting conundrum awaiting the selectors is the final availability of Kevin Pietersen, whose wife Jessica is due to give birth to their first child around the time of the tournament in early May.

"We've had discussions with Kevin," said Miller. "As you know, I'm a great advocator of people being solid family-wise and I have no argument about that. I'm prepared to allow him to go home. We're talking about the birth of a child here and we don't know when that's going to be, so we'll play it by ear. Kevin's absolutely fine with the situation."

"All players named have shown their ability in the shortest form of the game and the selectors have some difficult decisions to make when reducing the squad to 15 players," Miller added. "We have a number of young players knocking on the door which underlines the depth in talent currently available and I know all concerned will be hoping they make the final squad for what is a highly anticipated tournament."

Full Squad Paul Collingwood (capt), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Steven Davies, Joe Denly, Steven Finn, Craig Kieswetter, Michael Lumb, Sajid Mahmood, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Eoin Morgan, Graham Onions, Kevin Pietersen, Liam Plunkett, Matt Prior, Adil Rashid, Owais Shah, Ajmal Shahzad, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, James Tredwell, Peter Trego, Jonathan Trott, David Wainwright, Chris Woakes, Luke Wright, Michael Yardy.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • DILSHAN on March 3, 2010, 3:35 GMT

    My Eng squad would be - Wright/Kieswetter/Pietersen/Collingwood/Morgan/Shah/Trego/Mascarenhas/Swanna/Broad/Anderson - 12/Bresnan 13/Davies 14/Shahzad 15/Bopara. i would also consider Yardy for his left arm spin & maybe Trott to some extent. also Napier's non inclusion is also puzzling. my prediction Eng will be placed around 5th or 6th in the 20/20 world cup as they dont have a good attack to keep other good hitting sides under check.also they should pose scores of more than 150-160 meaning they must start hitting fromt he word go. so must but Wright on top rather than subdued Bopara or Trott.

  • Paul on March 1, 2010, 23:51 GMT

    My thoughts exactly. Bell and Denly? Hearing Rob Key talk about Denly is like he's on about a different bloke. He hasn't got the ball off the square, and doesn't look likely to ever do so in international cricket. Cooks recent ODI form is hugely better than either. (not a bit..a HUGE amount) I've lost confidence in Miller

  • Lewis on March 1, 2010, 23:49 GMT


    You act as if you're suprised! England selectors have always been known to ruine any chances the team have of being in the top 2 teams in the world and continue to do so. South Africa's tests for example, removing onions for that fool sidebottom, who is as average as they come...

    You have Nassar telling the world sachin is better than bradman? haha, now as much of a england supporter as i am and Sachin too, i still believe the team itself is runned and controlled by a load of fools.

    Also note, the above point will most probably be proved in this years ashes... I would like to think England have a a world class team and a strong one at that, but with constant infant made decisions, they will most probably fail again as they will in T20.

  • Darren on March 1, 2010, 22:56 GMT

    What get's them in is their temperament. Denly is a hard hitting opener, very different from a rather graceful and elligant Cook and Bell is a middle order bat, not an opener as Cook is. Subsequently, Cook is a very decent Test player and considering he isn't a natural changer of style through the different formats, I think it is best for him to remain a Test player, rather than attempt to change his game and causing hassle in the longer format for himself.

  • Brian on March 1, 2010, 20:39 GMT

    Ian Bell?? Joe Denly??! But no Cook. Do the selectors actually look at player's stats? I'm not suggesting Cook be selected, but his T20 record is far superior to these two. So what gets them in?

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