Injury Hits Hopes of a Fresh Start for Strauss
Byline: by PAUL NEWMAN Cricket Correspondent
AS IF England have not had enough problems during this wretched winter, they might have to find yet another captain to lead them into the first one-day international. Andrew Strauss was unable to participate fully in yesterday's fitness session in Guyana after hurting his right hamstring during Sunday's crushing Twenty20 defeat by West Indies.
Even though Strauss is 'hopeful' of being fit to play on Friday, he has only two days to convince himself he can play a full part in what is due to be his first international 50-over cricket since the 2007 World Cup.
If the new captain, who badly needs to prove he is worth a place in the limited overs game, does not make it then England will face the same dilemma that awaits them when they decide who will be captain for the Twenty20 World Cup in June.
At least it would be easier to appoint one of the former captains at Strauss's disposal for a one-off occa- sion until England can take stock at the end of this ill-fated winter.
Paul Collingwood would be the most likely to step into the breach ahead of Kevin Pietersen.
One of the few positive notes to come out of the six-wicket Twenty20 defeat was the performance of the surprise member of England's oneday squad. Steven Davies was selected ahead of Matt Prior because of his ability to bat at the top of the order and he made a promising introduction before becoming too ambitious and being bowled.
Davies, 22, has long been considered a wicketkeeper-batsman of considerable promise and, as the selectors seem determined to ignore the worldclass credentials of James Foster, they have decided on the next best thing -- promoting a young player who may get the innings off to a rapid start.
It would be wrong to get carried away by an innings of just 27 but Davies appeared unfazed by the atmosphere created by an 18,000 capacity crowd at the Queen's Park Oval and seems to be a more natural keeper than Prior.
England may yet pick Prior on Friday and bat him down the order, but the possible absence of Strauss will give Davies hope that he will be given the opportunity to build an opening partnership with Ravi Bopara, potentially the man to fill the huge gap left at the top of the one-day order by Marcus Trescothick. …