ALASTAIR COOK has been told he must prove his worth as a Twenty20 cricketer if he is to win his way back into the England squad for the shorter format.
The Essex batsman, who is currently captaining of England one-day and Test squad in Bangladesh in the absence of Andrew Strauss, has been left out of the 30-man provisional squad for the ICC World Twenty20, which starts in West Indies next month.
Instead, England have handed calls-up to five uncapped players, including seam trio of Middlesex’s Steven Finn, Somerset’s Peter Trego and Warwickshire’s Chris Woakes, plus Yorkshire spinner David Wainwright and Hampshire batsman Michael Lumb.
Cook has four Twenty20 caps to his name and even captained England in the last of those, on the winter tour of South Africa.
But national selector Geoff Miller insists his methodical and patient batting style is not suited to the cut and thrust of Twenty20 cricket, despite him showing good form in the 50-over format in recent matches.
“The message is that originally we said we didn’t think Alastair was a Twenty20 player – and we still stick by that,” Miller said.
“He has to prove us wrong. He’s played very well out here [in Bangladesh] – and if he can carry his career into that area then we’ll reassess.
“But at the moment we don’t see him as a Twenty20 player, and that’s why he’s not in.”
Instead, Cook has been entrusted with the role of leading England out for the second one-day international with Bangladesh in Mirpur today.
Cook led from the front in the first one-dayer on Thursday with 64 as England cruised to a six-wicket win.
But spinner Graeme Swann, who took three wickets in the match, has warned his side not to take their hosts lightly..
“They’re an ever improving side,” Swann said. “Four or five years ago every team who played them expected to walk all over them but I don’t think that is the case any more. They’ve got some real talent in their side.”
ENGLAND | TWENTY20 SQUAD
P Collingwood (capt), J Anderson,
I Bell, R Bopara, T Bresnan,
S Broad, S Davies, J Denly, S Finn,
C Kieswetter, M Lumb,
S Mahmood, D Mascarenhas,
E Morgan, G Onions, K Pietersen,
L Plunkett, M Prior, A Rashid,
O Shah, A Shahzad, R Sidebottom, G Swann, J Tredwell, P Trego,
J Trott, D Wainwright, C Woakes,
L Wright, M Yardy.