So the hoped-for has happened – Michael Vaughan has stepped down as England’s captain for one-day internationals. The selectors must has heaved a huge sigh of relief, because it saves them the task of having to carry him in the one-day squad – you can’t drop a self-appointed captain, can you?
So who are the alternative candidates?
Paul Collingwood is touted as the favourite and he is well likely to end up with the job. He has been the model of consistency in the English team (in both forms of the game) over the last few seasons. But is he captaincy material? He looks more like a capable foot-soldier, someone who was perennially in the fringes until he blossomed over the last two seasons. So will he provide the kind of overt leadership that England needs in one-dayers, a form of the game they seem almost reluctant to master? Moreover, considering that all three facets of his game will come to the fore in one-dayers, will captaincy be an additional load on Collingwood?
What do we make of all the talk about Kevin Pietersen being in the running? Now this could be an interesting choice. England desperately need to invent themselves as far as one-dayers go. So it may be worth considering someone who comes across as so unorthodox, as KP certainly does. His lack of experience (he has played only 51 one-day internationals so far) may be counted against him, but perhaps that is precisely what England needs. Someone with too much experience may just continue with the old mindset.
If he gets back to full fitness, can Andrew Flintoff walk back into the one-day team as captain? Well, Vaughan did that in the test arena, didn’t he? After a promising start, Flintoff’s captaincy came apart in Australia. But then, Australia is Australia, and the Ashes may not have been any different if England had had a different captain. Of course, it is an additional load on Freddie considering the all-round expectations from him, but the one-day game is more his métier and he has the personality to garner the troops, so he may just be an option.
Is there a fourth candidate? Not within one’s sight, but you never know with England and one-dayers. Remember Norman Gifford? Remember Adam Hollioake? It’s not just the weather that is unpredictable in England.