Alistair Cook and Stuart Broad have been named the new captains of the ODI side and Twenty20 side respectively as England overhaul the captaincy structure. Cook will take over duties from Andrew Strauss who announced his retirement from the 50 over format of the game today in order to concentrate his efforts on guiding England to the No 1 spot in the Test rankings. Meanwhile Broad replaces all rounder Paul Collingwood who memorably guided England to Twenty20 World Cup glory in the Caribbean last May.
The overhaul sees England become the first nation in cricket history to have its Test, ODI and Twenty20 teams led by three different captains. Cook is seen as future England Test captain but the decision to appoint Stuart Broad as the leader of the Twenty20 side could mean that there will be two players in contention to take over Andrew Strauss when he decides to step down or retire. Some people may consider the move to have three captains as a gamble that could backfire but England team director Andy Flower is excited by the prospect. “It has never been tried before so I am excited by the opportunity it provides us with. We don’t know 100% whether it will work and be the most efficient system but we’re going to give it a try.”
After England’s performance at this year’s World Cup in India, Strauss’s decision to quit ODI cricket doesn’t come as too much of surprise. Strauss himself may have performed well at the competition but England struggled with consistency. While they beat South Africa and memorably drew with India, they were upstaged by both Ireland and Bangladesh before falling to a crushing 10 wicket defeat to Sri Lanka in the quarter-finals. The Middlesex opener believes that the end of the world cup was a watershed for all teams and now is the right time for a change.
Strauss said, “I’ve enjoyed my time as England one-day captain immensely and I’m extremely proud of the strides we’ve made in limited overs cricket over the past two years. In my mind, me starting the process towards the next World Cup and not seeing it through was not in the best interests of the team.”
Meanwhile, the decision to appoint Cook as Strauss’ successor completes a crazy past year for the Essex opener. At one point last summer, it looked as though Cook would be dropped from the Test side after struggling in both home series against Bangladesh and Pakistan. However, a score of 110 at the Oval in the Third Test against Pakistan secured his spot in the side and made sure that he would be on the plane to Australia for the Ashes series. Come the end of the series, Cook had amassed an amazing 766 runs as he took Australia’s bowling attack to the sword. However, after his heroics he was then left out of the subsequent one day series and the World Cup squad.
Cook has only played 26 ODIs scoring just the one century but was impressive as stand-in skipper when England toured Bangladesh last year. There he scored two half centuries as he helped his side secure a 3-0 victory in the ODI series before guiding England to a 2-0 victory in the Test series in which he scored two centuries. Following the announcement, Cook said, ‘It is a huge honour and privilege and I’m excited by the challenge. I’m quite inexperienced as a captain but that gives me a huge potential to learn.”
Cook’s first game as captain will be against Sri Lanka on 28th June at the Oval in what is the start of a five game series. Then he will lead his side against World Cup winners India in another five match series in September.
On the contrary, Broad will only have one game against each opponent this summer but his focus will be on preparing for the next Twenty20 World Cup which will be held in Sri Lanka next year. The fast bowler said, “There is not a huge amount of T20 cricket until the World Cup in 2012 but I’m hugely excited to be leading a talented group of players. This is my first captaincy role but I’ve played under talented captains and learnt from every one of them.”
The move to appoint Broad as Twenty20 captain may not please everyone due to his hot headed attitude and some of his on field behaviour in the past, but it’s likely that his side will be a pretty exciting one to watch.