In the wake of England’s crushing defeat in Sydney and with his side 3-0 down in the current ODI series, Alastair Cook gave the strongest indications yet that he may step down from his current role as ODI captain.
When asked about his position as captain Cook responded saying. “I’m going to have a decision on that stuff after the next two games. We will sit down and talk about a lot of things. I think there will be some changes, English cricket needs a little bit of a change”. Hardly a firm re-allegiance to the cause!
With this in mind I’ve turned my thoughts to who could be England’s next ODI captain…
The Leading Candidates
Many people’s favourite for the job, Morgan has consistently been England’s number one ODI batsmen for the past three years and has shown time and again his ability to turn a match on its head. England would also hope that he could transfer his maverick and innovative batting style into aggressive forward thinking captaincy. He has captained England before on occasion in Cook’s absence, most notably during the 2013 series defeat at home to Australia. He would also, in all likelihood, be free from test commitments to dedicate more time to the job. Morgan would be a surprise test selection this summer and although he will want to play tests, the time will allow him to hone his captaincy skills.
In short, Not many. Perhaps a lack of captaincy at county level and real match experience of captaining in the outfield will count against him. But Morgan appears to already command respect from the players, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Has had experience captaining the Twenty20 side for the last three years and has gained a reputation as an innovative thinker in the field. If his T20 exploits are anything to go by, then he also seems to rise to the challenge with the ball and a fit and firing Broad in ODI cricket would be a massive asset for England heading into the World Cup. As with Morgan, Broad also seems to command the respect of the team and particularly the younger members of the squad seem to want to impress and work hard for him.
Even though cricket has progressed remarkably during the last 20 years, the idea of a bowler being an international captain is still a novel one. Broad would have to contend with all the issues that being a bowler/captain entails. There are also doubts about his temperament and that could count against him against the more phlegmatic Morgan. His use of referrals would also be an interesting issue; he is England’s prime waster of the DRS in test cricket with bat and ball.
He is one of the most senior players in the squad having been around the team for nearly 10 years and is widely respected within the team. He has also enjoyed an ODI renaissance at the top of the order since Cook has taken over and appears to finally be settled into the side. He has garnered much praise on the county circuit for the way he has captained Warwickshire in limited overs matches, with observers commenting on his instinct for the game and aggressive mindset.
Bell’s test form slumped a little towards the back end of the Ashes and England will want to be careful not to squash his form by heaping extra responsibility upon him. Bell also represents the older regime of English cricket and many believe that completely new start is required and that perhaps Morgan or Broad would be the fresher man.
In complete contrast to the test match scene, Pietersen has a brilliant relationship with ODI coach and Ashes winning teammate Ashley Giles. Pietersen would undoubtedly rise to the challenge with bat in hand and by handing him the captaincy; England may also be able to prolong his limited overs career. He would certainly not allow England to continue on their conservative approach to ODI cricket.
Doubts still remain over his long term commitment to international cricket and it also remains to be seen just how ‘re-integrated’ into team England he actually is. The Moores debacle will understandably count against him and it would be hard to see England deciding that making Pietersen captain is taking a move forward and not back.
He would be able to provide a fresh outlook on the situation after a long period out of the ODI side. He is also well respected within the dressing room and a vocal leader for the team in the outfield. He would be a safe pair of hands in terms of handling the media and all the trapping that now come with being an international captain.
One glaring one, he’s not anywhere near the team! His poor ODI form over a number of years, coupled with the emergence of Joss Buttler and Craig Kieswetter have all but put an end to his international limited overs career.
One final thought…
How about bringing back England’s only global trophy winning captain, highest ODI runscorer and most capped ODI player. Who also captained Durham to an unlikely championship victory last season.
Then again…. Maybe not!