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Two become one

AUSTRALIA started the practice and England followed in its wake; now it would appear that the Poms are about to give up the practice altogether. I refer to the business of having two captains, one for Tests and another for one-day internationals.

England is likely to dump Adam Hollioake from the role of one-day skipper soon and Alec Stewart may take over the reins. England's adoption of the two-captain practice began in Sharjah last year and Hollioake gave the selectors reason to continue with it when he led the team to victory. Arguably at that time, the Test captain Mike Atherton could not command a place in the one-day team either by virtue of his batting or his leadership.

But then came some troughs. Hollioake couldn't do much against the West Indies and the same went for the Texaco trophy at the start of the English summer. Stewart is a vital part of the one-day side and it now seems likely that the selectors may appoint him for the three-nation tournament involving South Africa and Sri Lanka. It also appears that he will lead the team to next year's World Cup.

Additionally, there have been doubts raised over Hollioake's place in the side, more so about his bowling after he dislocated his right shoulder in Jamaica during the tour of the Caribbean. Had he led the team to victory either against the West Indies or in the Texaco trophy it may have been different, but as things stand Stewart looks likely to get the nod as leader for both forms of the game.

Both Mike Gatting and Graham Gooch are known to have been against the original two-captain experiment. They now have plenty of ammunition to block it and in the changed circumstances the chairman of the selectors, David Graveney, is unlikely to want a contimuation.

The country where the whole thing originated may also have to look to one captain after Mark Taylor retires. Steve Waugh can command a place in both Test and one-day teams (as of the time of writing) and it is debatable whether a player of his ability would be left out merely to continue with a practice, the merits of which are questionable.