Picking an England T20 XI to Beat the Current Team
Imagine for a moment county cricket broke away from the national team. The counties weren't happy with the coaching setup at international level; they felt the team was heading in the wrong direction...
Who could they pick to beat the current England team playing in the West Indies in a T20? Well Kevin Pietersen is a no-brainer, but who else would make the cut?
Click 'Begin Slideshow' to find out.
Craig Kieswetter played the last of his 25 T20 internationals during the World T20 in Sri Lanka. At the time Kieswetter was in a miserable run of form when he seemed incapable of rotating the strike at all.
Since then, however, Kieswetter has top-scored in the Friends Life T20 in England as well as impressing in this season's Big Bash League in Australia.
Jos Buttler is England's current wicketkeeper in limited-overs formats, but were he to enter a poor patch of form Kieswetter would be a good replacement.
The most obvious pick of all is, of course, Kevin Pietersen.
Pietersen's T20 record is not outstanding, but he remains quite comfortably England's most explosive, aggressive and innovative player. He should open the batting because in T20 cricket your best batsmen should face the most balls.
He would be England's captain in this team.
Having someone who traditionally opens at number three in T20 cricket is a good idea. Often the batsman will be coming in against a hard ball in the powerplay overs and having a more classical number three, for example Ian Bell, could be counter-intuitive.
Michael Carberry was the second top scorer in the Friends Life T20 last year and has suggested promise when he has appeared for England in limited-overs formats.
Ballance has been in and around the England setup this winter without getting an extended run in the side and showed glimpses of potential.
His T20 record is not outstanding but he has the game for T20 cricket, especially in the middle-overs.
Owais Shah's career is sadly coming to an unfulfilled end.
He should have played far more during his younger years but he remains an excellent finisher, playing innovative shots, using a powerful bottom hand to leverage the ball over the infield. Experience is crucial to playing at the back end of a T20 innings when staying cool is required. Shah has experience aplenty and should be the man finishing innings for England.
Many are surprised that Samit Patel did not make it into England's squad for the World T20 in Bangladesh. Patel is a powerful batsman capable of batting in a number of positions in the order and is a more than useful spin option, especially on the pitches England will be playing on in Bangladesh.
It seems that like a handful of other cricketers who have been tried by England, the management have made a ruthless decision to end association with Patel. He's not lost his talent; it's being wasted.
This is a risky selection because Chris Woakes' T20 bowling remains questionable. However, he's in a superb patch of form and he's an immensely skilled cricketer with both bat and ball. You'd hope he'd be able to translate such skills into the shortest format.
Woakes' genuine international career is likely to hinge on the form of Ben Stokes who is a very similar player to the Warwickshire all-rounder.
The wild-card pick of the team.
Azhar Mahmood has played international cricket for Pakistan, however, after playing county cricket for a number of years, Mahmood has become an English citizen and is now free to play for England in international cricket.
Mahmood is 39 years of age and is certainly not a long-term solution but he is a masterful T20 bowler and a powerful lower-order hitter with experience in many T20 leagues around the world.
Stuart Meaker is a bowler with huge potential. His injury record is poor but he has shown in the past that he can bowl at serious pace with searing accuracy. There's little doubt that he has suffered at the hands of England's coaches at the Performance Centre in Loughborough, but if he was allowed to bowl back in his most natural action and just try and bowl fast, Meaker is still young enough to return.
England's perennial enigma Steven Finn will, with the right coaching and guidance, come back and become the bowler he's long suggested he could be.
Finn, like Meaker, is a casualty of the England management who have fiddled endlessly with his action and he's lost all rhythm and confidence. However, Finn has been a particularly successful white-ball bowler in the past. His accuracy can stray but his height gives him great bounce and potency.
Briggs has played for a while as England's spinner in limited-overs cricket. But after an onslaught from Aaron Finch at the Ageas Bowl he appears to have slipped out of contention, with Stephen Parry and James Tredwell taking over.
Briggs is still young, however, and he has regularly performed consistently well for Hampshire in the Friends Life T20. He bowls a canny line, often firing the ball in at a nippy pace. Not only is he economical but his frugality often reaps wickets.
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