Collingwood named Twenty20 captain
Paul Collingwood has been confirmed as England's captain for the ICC World Twenty20 and will lead a squad including James Foster, Robert Key, Graham Napier and Eoin Morgan as the selectors continue to unveil a new way of thinking.
"I am really excited about captaining this squad as it will be in front of our own fans here in England," Collingwood said. "At the end of the recent Caribbean tour it was well known that I wanted some time to think it over but now I am looking forward to the tournament. We have a talented squad with some new faces and there is the added incentive for everyone of a Lord's final."
Morgan, the Ireland and Middlesex batsman, earns his first England call-up as does Napier while Foster and Key return after long periods out of the international scene. Foster's recall for the first time since 2002 means there is no place for Matt Prior in the latest change to the wicketkeeping position.
"Foster's selection is about the pressure you put on as a wicketkeeper behind the stumps," Geoff Miller, the national selector, explained to reporters at Lord's. "His glovework is impeccable, and [by standing up] he creates a new kind of pressure for our bowlers, a lot of whom take the pace off the ball. And he's improved his lower-order batting as well."
Key has been rewarded for his impressive domestic Twenty20 record with a chance to open the batting and selected ahead of his team-mate Joe Denly. Napier, who played his first match in the IPL on Friday, hit the headlines last summer when he smashed 158 for Essex and Sussex.
Samit Patel, dropped from the one-day series in the Caribbean for being unfit, has been overlooked again as Miller said he still hadn't reached his targets. "Samit hasn't improved from when he was deselected. It's disappointing but we have rules and regulations and are going to stand by them. We have insisted on fitness."
Tim Bresnan who was named in the Test squad two days ago also misses out, but Andrew Flintoff has been included subject to him recovering from his knee injury and Luke Wright is recalled.
Collingwood returns to the captaincy less than a year after resigning alongside Michael Vaughan and just a matter of weeks since he said he didn't want the job. Although he had some success as one-day captain - notably a series win away against Sri Lanka - he also had his fair share of problems.
During the first World Twenty20 in South Africa he miscounted Andrew Flintoff's overs during one match meaning he didn't bowl his full quota. The following summer against New Zealand he was at the centre of controversy for not recalling Grant Elliott to the crease after he'd been run out after a collision with Ryan Sidebottom.
He has spent the last two weeks unable to get a game for the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, but there were not many other realistic candidates although there was some thought they should have been adventurous and handed it to Key or Dimitri Mascarenhas. However, his non-selection in the IPL did not concern Miller.
"He's gleaned an awful lot on strategies and techniques at the IPL," said Miller. "He's a bright fella and we know his abilities. He's not played in the middle but he's been netting and practicing, and done a lot of preparation work. It's not been about learning to bat and bowl, it's how to invent and create, and he's quite excited.
One batsman who has continued to develop over the past two seasons is Morgan, who follows in the footsteps of Ed Joyce in swapping the Irish top for an England one. Morgan was short-listed in the 30-man squad three weeks ago while playing for Ireland in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers, a decision which Ireland were understandably frustrated at, but Miller had no doubts as to where the batsman's loyalties now lie.
"He's always had a passion to play for England. He's always said right from the start that he wants to play for England, and has shown over the last two or three years that he's inventive and creative and he's proved to the selectors - and opposition too - that he's going in the right direction, this is a mix of experience and youthful exuberance in this side, and he fits into that category so we're quite excited about it."
Squad Paul Collingwood (capt), James Anderson, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Andrew Flintoff, James Foster, Robert Key, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Eoin Morgan, Graham Napier, Kevin Pietersen, Owais Shah, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright