Captains, vice-captains and former captains perpetually dominate English cricket. They did so again here yesterday. It was informally announced that Andrew Strauss, the incumbent skipper in all forms of the game, will be fit for the opening one-day match at Providence Stadium tomorrow.
However, it was also formally announced that if his strained hamstring does not recover or if he should suffer some other mishap then Paul Collingwood will lead the one-day side for the rest of the series. Collingwood was the captain of the one-day team until he resigned last August. His appointment as stand-in leader in waiting (not official vice-captain, insisted National Selector Geoff Miller) might be interpreted as a snub to the erstwhile captain in all forms of the game, Kevin Pietersen. But it probably is not.
The selectors may merely have felt that it was too soon after Pietersen's controversial exit in January, when he was found to be seeking the removal of the coach and his main assistant, for him to resume even in a caretaker role.
While Collingwood was being appointed to a job he may well never have to do, a former captain was issuing a reminder of his talents. Michael Vaughan made 115 for Yorkshire against Surrey in the Emirates Airline Pro Arch Trophy in Abu Dhabi. If Vaughan continues in this sort of form – and he needs to – the misguided calls for him to be recalled to England's Test side will gather apace.
After Miller, who is in Guyana for the first two one-dayers, insisted that England had the talent to win the one-day series but could not explain their inconsistent form, the players might have been disconcerted by the West Indies' aspirations. The St Lucian all rounder, Darren Sammy, said: "With the present situation we have them in it is only fair we grind them into the ground."
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