Stuart Broad has come a long way since that September night in Durban in 2007 when Yuvraj Singh smashed him for six sixes in an over in the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup. He has since gone on to become the captain of England's T20 squad.
He is only 25, and it’s obvious he has been short-listed as someone with potential for bigger leadership responsibilities in the future. The T20 game is seen as the grooming ground.
Coach Andy Flower has introduced a step-by-step process. Opener Alastair Cook is not a great one-day player but is England captain in the 50-over game. This move is being seen as a process to groom him for Test captaincy, as an heir to Andrew Strauss.
It gives England ready options in leadership, and Flower is also striving to secure the future of the team. “Flower is shrewd and is giving lot of leadership roles to different players. Stuart has some great leadership skills, he’s a good communicator, plans ahead and is not afraid to make decisions,” said England under-19 coach Tim Boon, under whom Broad began his first-class career at Leicestershire.
It’s a simple case of keeping the second line ready. It’s England who are setting the benchmarks now, and there are some lessons to be learnt.
Using the Twenty20 games as the grooming ground is an option worth exploring for the Indian selectors as well. Mahendra Singh Dhoni should have the captaincy at least for the next couple of seasons, but the time has come to take a hard look at options for the future.
The workload on Dhoni is mind-boggling. Being the 'keeper and batsman as well as captain in Tests, one-dayers and Twenty20s means he is on the road without a break, making him a prime candidate for breakdown.
Bucking the trend
Dhoni's hands are sore after ‘keeping day in and day out, and the mental fatigue is showing in his ‘keeping and captaincy. Unlike Strauss, who only plays Tests, the Indian selectors will be in a dilemma because Dhoni is a key member in all three versions of the game.
However, a bold initiative could work well. Dhoni can lead in the two longer versions and the selectors can test out someone else in T20.
Asked for his views on England's captaincy experiment, Dhoni said: “It is difficult for me to answer because I hardly get to think of anything other than cricket. Time will tell whether it's a good thing or not. Of course, you have to see whether the captains play all three formats or not. And yes, it does give them a bit of rest.”