Cook fancies T20 role but Broad plays silly straight bat

 

Dubai

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.

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk