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Rupert Wyman 13th Mar 2009 - 13:56

Cautious Strauss to falter in Trinidad

England captain Andrew Strauss showed remarkable form in the Test series against the West Indies but he is likely to find it much tougher going in the Twenty20 international between the sides in Trinidad.

Strauss is much better suited to the Test match arena where technique and building an innings are key. In the shorter format of the game the Middlesex man is often found out.

This is even the case in the 50 over-a-side game let alone Twenty20 cricket. In fact, before he was handed the captaincy, Strauss was not part of either the ODI or Twenty20 squads and if he wasn't captain it is highly likely that would still be the case. In the Stanford Twenty20 series Strauss even played for his county Middlesex against England.

Strauss hit three centuries in the five-match Test series but the wickets were incredibly flat and the West Indies hardly have a potent bowling attack. In the Twenty20 game Strauss will have to increase his strike rate and his inability to score runs quickly will in all likelihood lead to him losing his wicket.

The captain's inability to score quickly means he has a big cloud over his future as England's leader in all formats of the game. And perhaps if the opener repeats his past international limited overs form then there could be a return to dual captaincy with Strauss in charge in the five-day game and someone else in the shorter form of the games.

If you think I am wrong in my assessment of Strauss' abilities then you can get 4/1 about him being England's top batsman. However, this looks far too short; he maybe the batsman in form, but the left-hander has played three Twenty20 internationals for England and has averaged just 17.00.

Despite the doubts about the captain England go into the Port of Spain encounter as 4/6 favourites with the hosts 11/10 outsiders.

The West Indies are without their captain Chris Gayle as he picked up a groin injury in the fifth Test. Wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin will deputise and hope to lead the Windies to another victory against England after their morale-boosting Test series win.

Gayle's absence will leave a big hole at the top of the batting line-up, he averages 37.28 in T20Is but the West Indies will be delighted to welcome back all-rounder Dwayne Bravo back after a six-month absence through injury.

Bravo is 6/1 to return with a bang and to top-score for the Windies. Ramdin is a 12/1 shot to lead from the front. But it is Ramnaresh Sarwan who leads the market at 3/1 with the ever-reliable Shiv Chanderpaul second favourite at 4/1. But the value could be opener Devon Smith at 5/1 as the Grenadian averages 33.20 in the short format of the game.

Despite missing Gayle the West Indies look a better bet at the odds than England. The hosts have only lost one of their last four Twenty20 internationals including victories over the two best sides in the world, South Africa and Australia. On top of this England could well struggle to get the balance of their side right.

Talisman and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff is an injury doubt and his absence usually leads to an unbalanced line-up with either the batting too short or going in with a bowler short.

England will also be without both Samit Patel and Graeme Swann, as a result of a lack of fitness and injury respectively. Thus meaning the spinning options are limited with just young Adil Rashid and Gareth Batty available for selection. Rashid is arguably too young to be thrown into the international arena just yet and Batty, quite frankly, is not good enough yet.

The Yorkshire spinner would probably be the best of the pair to play and he does have great promise, but generally England would appear to be lacking the players to make up an effective bowling attack.

James Anderson and Stuart Broad will probably lead the attack and, after he was left out of the team for the fourth and fifth Tests, Steve Harmison is surely unlikely to get a recall, leaving Amjad Khan in line for his limited overs debut. Other options include Dimitri Mascarenhas, but he is hardly a strike bowler, and then it is down to the part-timers in Paul Collingwood, Ravi Bopara, Owais Shah and Kevin Pietersen.

With the bowling options looking to be a bit of a problem area it will therefore be up to the batsmen to either post an intimidating total or to orchestrate a big run-chase.

Former captain Pietersen is the 3/1 favourite to top-score for the tourists and he will probably have to be at his best to give England a chance. Ravi Bopara should be picked and the Essex man looks a bit of value at 6/1. Bopara played in the fourth Test, scored a century and then was harshly dropped for the fifth Test so he will be hoping to prove a point to the selectors.

The Twenty20 action begins at 18:00 on Sunday with every four and six shown live on Sky Sports 2. And of course our betlive service will be offering a wide range of in-running betting opportunities to make the most exciting form of cricket just that little bit more thrilling.

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