The announcement yesterday of the England cricket squads for the upcoming one-day series against India and the 20/20 World Cup have come in for a bit of stick from many experts. They feel that picking specialists for 20/20 who are not included in the One Day squad is an error. That ‘a good cricketer is good in any form of the game’. Actually, I don’t wholly agree with that and in any case, have we not always wanted England to pick the men in form? Well, I have at least. And it makes such good sense.
Atherton complained yesterday that Ian Bell, among others, is a victim of 20/20 selection because he has not played much 20/20 domestic cricket. For me, this means he needs to be released to play some, not be stuck on the world stage with no experience whatever. Athers also questioned whether the in-form domestic players would translate to a World Cup. We’ll find out but one of the things we’ve learned this summer is that getting our test players to play county cricket has hugely improved their test match games – the bowlers and Vaughan in particular have all found their touch.
I feel that the 20/20 Squad in particular is brave and inspired selection. It introduces good young players to international cricket in a short and informal (relatively) style of the game. It gives them touring experience, big game pressure and access to other top world players in what is, let’s face it, a less important contest than a test match or One Day world cup. I think we might be in for a surprise too. Watching Luke Wright devastate the Gloucestershire attack in a Pro 40 match last night tells me that if our other specialists fire, we can look forward to a succcessful campaign. That doesn’t mean winning it necessarily, but showing the world of cricket we are more than a test match nation. And whatever happens, it will surely be exciting.