Cook fancies T20 role but Broad plays silly straight bat



In many eyes, the real business of England's tour of the UAE starts tonight. With the irritating diversions of the Test and one-day series finally over it is at last time for the Twenty20 matches.

So nonplussed are England by the delayed advent of the shortest form of the game they declined yesterday to reveal the balance of their team or the names of injured players. Above all, they avoided saying whether Alastair Cook, the one-day captain who has been recalled to the T20 squad as cover, would play.

But Cook, according to T20 captain Stuart Broad, is available for selection which suggests he might be something more than cover. Broad, however, issued information as if he was a captured spy desperate to avoid divulging secrets.

At one point he seemed about to say: "Name, Stuart Broad; rank, captain; Twenty20 cap number 17, I'm sorry that's all I'm prepared to disclose."

Asked about the injured players, he actually said: "I can't digress into that too much. It's quite personal to the team, you don't want to comment too much on injury problems. We're hoping they will come through OK and be available."


Cook has nominally been asked to stay on tour because Ravi Bopara is suffering from a sore back and hamstring which kept him out of the final one-day international. But Bopara practised like Action Man yesterday, batting and drilling long sixes, bowling, generally looking on top of the world.

Broad said: "Cooky is very keen to play Twenty20 cricket. He has not played a huge amount of Twenty20 cricket for Essex so it's hard to gauge whether he is a good Twenty20 player but you can see from his ODI form he has developed scoring areas and shots, and he has played some fantastic one-day innings for us."

Actually Cook has played 23 Twenty20s for Essex (whereas Broad has played three for Nottinghamshire) and averages 37.55 with a scoring rate of 134.59. But picking Cook may mean leaving out Alex Hales, the man in possession of the opening batting spot. Hales has a slightly better scoring rate for Notts than Cook and adds an extra dimension in the outfield.

Since Broad was reluctant to offer any information it is difficult to say who is struggling, though Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan and Cook himself missed voluntary nets yesterday. It is possible that England will continue with the new ODI format of having Cook and Pietersen open the innings, though the more advisable pairing would be Hales and Craig Kieswetter with Pietersen at three and Cook carrying the drinks.

It will be only Broad's third match as captain since he has missed three through injury – which England were forced to reveal at the time. The team defend their World T20 title in Sri Lanka later this year which probably explains why there are three matches in this series. England have four more before their defence begins. Broad was right about one thing yesterday when he said there was an exciting element to some of the batting. A batting order containing Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Hales can make up in brio what it lacks in experience.

Pakistan, with several players still suffering from colds, look pedestrian by comparison and England will again have a decisive edge in the field. England's bowling is truly formidable at present and while they may be callow their cause has been helped by the 4-0 whitewash in the one-dayers. By the end of the series in Abu Dhabi, England ought to have retained their No 1 ranking.

Possible team S C J Broad (capt), C Kieswetter (wk), A D Hales, K P Pietersen, E J G Morgan, R S Bopara, J C Buttler, S R Patel, T T Bresnan, G P Swann, S T Finn.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride