England yesterday confirmed that Alastair Cook will captain the side for next month's tour of Bangladesh. Cook will fill in for his fellow opener Andrew Strauss, who is taking a break from cricket having averaged only 24 in the series with South Africa and admitting consistency is a problem for his side. His absence will do little for continuity. Cook will captain the one-day and Test sides while Paul Collingwood will continue in his role as Twenty20 skipper for the two matches against Pakistan in Dubai.
Michael Carberry will replace Strauss at the top of the order in the Test squad while there are also call-ups for Yorkshire paceman Ajmal Shahzad and Kent off-spinner James Tredwall. James Anderson misses out and will undergo exploratory surgery on a knee problem. Still reeling from his omission from the final Test last week, Graham Onions suffered a new blow when he was surprisingly left out of the one-day squad, with Ryan Sidebottom and Liam Plunkett preferred.
Geoff Miller, the national selector, said Strauss needed to recharge his batteries ahead of an Ashes campaign later this year. "I don't think there's any doubt Andrew needs a break," he said. "It's not just about performing with bat but also about the mental state." England play two T20 matches in Dubai on February 19 and 20 before playing Bangladesh in three ODIs and two Test matches. "I can't wait for it to start," said Cook who averaged 41 in South Africa. "I'm very excited about what Straussy and Andy Flower have built up and I'm very honoured to take on the role.
"It's a massive learning curve for me and a huge part of my development. I think I'm a leader of men and behind the scenes I've done a lot of work." @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org