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Whitaker sees positives in England future

James Whitaker talks about England's selections for the tour of the West Indies and World Twenty20

England national selector James Whitaker insists there is plenty of cause for optimism ahead of the upcoming bevvy of one-day cricket.

A disappointing recent tour of Australia ended with 4-1 and 3-0 losses in the one-day international and Twenty20 series.

That has prompted something of a new-look squad to be selected for the tour of the West Indies and subsequent World Twenty20.

Indeed, the same party, minus Harry Gurney from the latter, will partake in both contests. The tour of the Windies will feature three ODIs and as many sprint-format games.

Whitaker told ecb.co.uk: “We are not far away in both forms of the game and it can change very quickly.

“We played reasonably well in the ODIs in Australia, although a couple of games went against us.

“Twenty20 cricket can turn around very quickly so we have got lots of grounds for optimism and there is a lot of positivity in the squad.”

For many, much focus will centre on the World T20 as England seek to win the crown for the second time in three editions.

Their triumph in 2010 was an example of how a team can pick up momentum and Whitaker et al will be eyeing a repeat.

“There are fine margins in Twenty20,” he added. “But we have got a good mixture of youth and experience in the squad – and that is a good blend.

“We are just looking for some real energy and we believe the squad we have selected will be able to produce that.”

It is the injection of new blood like Moeen Ali, Stephen Parry and Gurney that will draw particular focus.

Whitaker said: “Moeen brings variety and confidence. He’s an option at the top of the order and also has some off-spin. We’re looking forward to seeing his talents on the international stage.

“Stephen gives us a left-arm spin option. I have seen him several times and he has good variety. He’s an exciting option.

“Harry has control of the white ball as a left-arm seamer, which is a variety we are short of.”

For Whitaker, this squad selection was an important one as his first since undertaking his role atop the selection tree.

“It has been an interesting time, very challenging but I am enjoying it immensely and looking forward to working with whoever comes on board the panel in the near future and whoever will be the England coach as well,” he added.

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