England un-Cook-ed, Australia Lee-ve door open

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As the preliminary announcements of the World Twenty20 squads trickle in, there have been a few notable inclusions and absences in the 30-man line-ups.

England’s selectors have made a statement about just what they think of Alastair Cook’s Twenty20 credentials, and their view is that the opener is not cut out for the shortest format of the game.

“Initially we didn’t think that Alastair was a Twenty20 player, we think that was the right decision. We will continue with that until he really, really proves us wrong,” national selector Geoff Miller has said.

Cook may be captaining the side as they tour Bangladesh, but his name is perhaps the most glaring absence from England’s extended line-up. The Essex batsman is an accumulator of runs in a format that demands a more swashbuckling style, the kind that ensures newly qualified England player Craig Kieswetter’s name was inked among the 30 names initially selected for the England squad.

The England selector’s call on Cook in the Twenty20s is in stark contrast to the Australian approach, where Michael Clarke – another batsman who is more comfortable working the bowlers around than playing a crash, bang style of cricket – has been handed the Twenty20 captaincy. It can only be assumed the Australia selectors are keen for Clarke to gain experience as skipper there before he eventually fills Ricky Ponting’s shoes in One-Day Internationals and Test cricket.

And for the questions and criticism of Clarke’s Twenty20 captaincy before their Australasian summer, the 28-year-old has put together a couple of handy knocks - his 67 from 45 balls against New Zealand at Christchurch this week, during which he twice lofted the ball over the boundary line, proves even the patient man might have a place in this fast-moving game.

Back to the Australian line-up, and their preliminary squad for the World Twenty20 has, at least at this early stage, kept the door open for two of their bowling stalwarts in Brett Lee and Nathan Bracken. Neither was fit enough to wear the green and gold during the Australian summer, but both have been given time to prove their fitness and form before the final squad that is to head to the Caribbean is selected.

While the door is ajar for the Australia pacemen, Pakistan has closed it on fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar for the World Twenty20. Shoaib hasn’t entered the international fray since playing against Australia last May, and with young quick Mohammad Aamer living up to the hype, among other fast bowling options, there was no need for Pakistan to rush to recall the 34-year-old.

India’s preliminary World Twenty20 squad has thrown up few surprises, with Irfan Pathan’s back injury keeping the batsman out of the 30-man squad while Manish Pandey, the first Indian to score an IPL ton, gets the nod in the initial line-up.



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