Colly's pack will go for the kill against Windies


Last updated at 17:27 28 June 2007

England take the first step today on what they hope will be a four-year

journey towards a better one-day future when they attempt to hunt like a pack and apply the final conclusive blows to a wounded West Indies.

Both sides have new captains for the first of two sell-out Twenty20 internationals at The Brit Oval, but their moods contrast sharply. While Paul

Collingwood talked about leading a young team full of 'energy and enthusiasm', Chris Gayle was again forced to address the dispute between the West Indies players and their board which is bringing an acrimonious end to a tortuous tour.

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Collingwood and Moores

It was impossible not to think back four years as Collingwood spoke of the 'fantastic attitude' of his players and the 'honeymoon period' he will attempt

to prolong as he prepared for his first match in charge under the new split-captaincy system.

In 2003 it was Michael

Vaughan doing the talking

after taking over as one-day

skipper from Nasser Hussain

and he was preparing to give

chances to the likes of Jim

Troughton, Anthony McGrath,

Rikki Clarke, Rob Key, Richard

Johnson and Chris Read.

Four years on, a similar

post-World Cup watershed and

now only the names have

changed to include the likes of

Stuart Broad, Ryan Sidebottom,

Jonathan Trott, who

is fit to play today, and

Dimitri Mascarenhas as planning begins for the 2011

World Cup.

None of Vaughan's newcomers

came anywhere near completing

the course but it is pertinent

to remember the previous

one-day era started with wins

over Pakistan and South Africa

before England's one-day

cricket slid towards World Cup


Whether the Collingwood

regime turns out to be any

different remains to be seen

but, for now, a more realistic

target for those looking to

prove they can make the step

up to international level is

surely a place in the first

Twenty20 World Cup in South

Africa in September.

If today's inexperienced

players are around then, after

five matches against West

Indies and seven against India,

progress will have been made.

West Indies have been much

better in limited overs than

Test cricket recently but they

take the field today against a

backdrop of an internal dispute

which is threatening to

eclipse the 1998 stand-off when

their team holed themselves

up at a hotel near Heathrow

Airport and effectively went on

strike ahead of their tour to

South Africa. And this time

they cannot blame Brian Lara.

Gayle, the epitome of

Jamaican cool, is emerging as

an unlikely statesman amid

the chaos. His justifiable complaints

over the board's failure

to fly their one-day specialists

to England to take on the

Lions last week were met with

apoplexy by the board who

have told the stand-in one-day

captain they will 'pursue the

matter at the end of the tour'.

Yesterday he smiled, shrugged

and again refused to apologise.

"I'm a big man who has been

in tougher situations than

this," said Gayle. "You have

tough times in life and you

have to stand up and handle it.

We're playing on despite all the

rumblings out there and we

want to put all the negativity

aside and concentrate on

the cricket. I'll face the

consequences later, if there are

going to be any."

Collingwood has no such

worries as he tackles the latest

test in a career that he accepts

has been full of challenges;

from proving he had the technique

for international cricket

to proving he could be effective

at Test level. His captaincy

style will be part the calmness

of Vaughan and part the 'bit of

ginger' that he so delights in

bringing to the England team.

He said: "You want 11 leaders

out there, all sticking together

when it gets feisty. I can be

exactly the same competitor as

captain as I am as a player, and

we won't back off from anything

as a group."

England won't back down

from a challenge and the West

Indies won't back down to

their board. In the meantime

they have differing reasons for

wanting the shortest form of

the game to provide more than

just light relief today.