Some reason for Windies to be optimistic

A few members of the West Indies team celebrate with the trophy.-AP

The West Indies’ victories at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge demonstrated an energy level which was never seen in the Tests, writes Ted Corbett.

By all that is wise and wonderful, Paul Collingwood is a cheerful cove.

He misdirects England to defeat at Trent Bridge and so loses the one-day series against West Indies and then tells us, grinning that cheeky grin of his, but serious all the same, that things will get better.

Paul, son, they can only get better because there were nasty deficiencies in the performances at Birmingham and Nottingham.

England won the first one-dayer at Lord’s comfortably although — and this awkward fact proved to be a hint of things to come — it was a while before they could wrap up the match and the West Indies tail appeared to find it remarkably easy to hold out against the comparatively young attack.

(Although I have to say that the longer the coaches refer to James Anderson as a young bowler the longer he will think of himself as an apprentice hand. After all he has now played in two World Cups. He cannot be so lacking in experience. It is just like the tiredness factor that the former coach, Duncan Fletcher, used to build into every verdict. He told the players they needed a rest so often they believed him. What? Athletes at the height of their physical prowess are tired after every match? He had to be kidding.)

There is no doubt that Stuart Broad is young and that Monty Panesar is hardly a veteran and that Ryan Sidebottom has been out of the reckoning for so long that he is not as versed in the ways of international cricket as a 29-year-old might be.

Anyway somewhere on the M1 and M6 up to Birmingham someone got the bright idea that the pitch would suit seam and in came the darting Michael Yardy rather than the intelligent, clever and sophisticated Panesar.

I suppose that at some time in the past 20 years there was an Australian selector who got the thought that Shane Warne should be replaced by Stuart MacGill but the rest of the panel made him lie down in a darkened room until the idea went away.

Unfortunately, the England selectors persisted and when I spoke to Panesar at breakfast on the morning of the match I found a distracted, almost wordless lad and could not understand what I had done to offend him. After all, “Good morning, Monty” does not often bring a frown but by the time I got to the ground I knew what was wrong. He could not understand why Yardy’s one-trick bowling — pitch the ball leg-stump, cramp the batsmen’s strokes and hope they get frustrated — had been chosen ahead of his multitude of variations.

I have been thinking about it ever since and I cannot understand either. Instead I have a solution.

When the Schofield Report is put into operation, with its several changes of names given to the same people, one of the moves that should be considered is to bring in a new generation of selectors.

At the moment David Graveney is chairman and the received wisdom is that he will be appointed to a new full-time job which involves picking teams and travelling abroad with the touring parties.

It would surely be better if Graveney, who has been chairman for more than 10 years, were to be given the job of travelling, to act as an old-fashioned tour manager, responsible for communications, discipline and dealing with the overseas boards while the coach was relieved of all those duties.

At one time I was often told, by a man close to the top of the tree at Lord’s, that there was no one suitable to be tour manager. I have never believed that but now there is the chance to make a change and Graveney is the right man to go on tour.

Fletcher did all those jobs himself; but then he operated in a way that was close to the supremo role taken over by Ray Illingworth in the middle 1990s. It is alleged by insiders that Fletcher not only had full control but that he ignored all the e-mails that came from Lord’s.

He was a strong-minded man who pulled England to the top of the Test ladder but who did nothing for their one-day skills. That is especially odd since his own career was as a one-day player in the days before Zimbabwe became a Test team.

So who can handle the selection job? My own choice would be Graham Gooch, a more relaxed character than the tough, silent type who led England from 1989 to 1993. If you want to know what is going on in the middle Gooch’s summaries on Test Match Special are an excellent start point. He calls the balls that take wickets with an accuracy you ought to get from a former international captain and he has the words to make his points tell.

Just in case you are thinking to yourself that Gooch is my best pal, you may be interested to know that we don’t always get on but I think he is the right man to pick England teams even though he was sacked as a selector a few years ago.

I do not believe he would have left out Panesar, I am sure he would be rather more careful with youngsters like Broad and I think he might have the diplomatic skills to solve one of the other reforms England need.

If England had Marcus Trescothick back in their side they would be a much greater team.

He has been playing for Somerset while he decides — and the selectors make up their minds — whether he should play for England again.

There needs to be a series of meetings with him to find the right time for him to return. I suggest that the one-dayers against India at the end of the season might be an appropriate moment which could be followed by short trips abroad for the Twenty-20 World Cup or the two weeks in Sri Lanka for three one-day games.

Both sides need to have got over Trescothick’s retreat from two tours; he needs to be sure he wants international cricket again. I hope it works out.

As for the West Indies, they seem in this era to be getting back their enthusiasm for one-day cricket and to have one or two players who ought to be more powerful figures when they return to England in four years’ time.

Dwayne Bravo always attempts to play the correct innings for the occasions, the old bowlers swear that Daren Powell and Jerome Lawson have the right natural attributes to make it as one-day bowlers and it has to be remembered that their captain Ramnaresh Sarwan missed most of the Test series and all the one-day matches.

Their victories at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge demonstrated an energy level which was never seen in the Tests and their success here proves they have reason to be optimistic about the future.

I’m not so sure about England. THE SCORES Third ODI, Trent Bridge, July 7. West Indies won by 93 runs.

West Indies 289 for five in 50 overs (C. Gayle 82, S. Chanderpaul 33, R. Morton 82 not out, D. Bravo 42, L. Plunkett three for 59) bt England 196 in 44.2 overs (I. Bell 27, O. Shah 51, P. Collingwood 44, D. Powell four for 40, F. Edwards three for 30).

Second ODI, Edgbaston, July 4. West Indies won by 61 runs.

West Indies 278 for five in 50 overs (C. Gayle 36, S. Chanderpaul 116 not out, M. Samuels 77) bt England 217 in 46 overs (M. Prior 52, O. Shah 45, R. Rampaul four for 41).

First ODI, Lord’s, July 1. England won by 79 runs.

England 225 in 49.5 overs (A. Cook 29, M. Prior 34, I. Bell 56, K. Pietersen 33, O. Shah 42, F. Edwards five for 45) bt West Indies 146 in 39.5 overs (S. Chanderpaul 53 not out, D. Bravo 29, S. Broad three for 20).