Giving Swann the captaincy makes some sense given that he is the oldest in the team and the most experienced in shorter formats, and therefore will have a better understanding of how to set a field and work with the players strengths and weaknesses. However his appointment seems to directly contradict the selectors initiative of preparing the "young future of English cricket" by giving them authoritative roles and the chance to play in England colours in order to ready themselves for the next world cup. Swann also has the most entertaining personality in the team, and a quote he gave recently about not wanting to captain the side because "I couldn't still be the light-hearted, piss taking guy if I was in a position of authority" speaks volumes. Some have said that because of his personality, Swann won't take the captaincy seriously; I disagree. It's having to change who he is that bothers me the most. Cook, Strauss, Broad; you often feel that these are players who were bred for captaincy. Swann isn't one of these. At the risk of sounding cliched, he's an everyman - a player who works hard but sees nothing wrong in mucking about a bit off the pitch and in between overs. Why should he have to stop this to take on a role that he has spoken about not wanting for two matches that, in the long run, mean nothing?
Without wishing to sound rude, the chances of Swann playing in the next T20 world cup is highly unlikely, therefore giving the captaincy role to one of the younger players would surely have been more practical in the long run. Most surprising of all is the omission of the England Lions captain, and the player most logistically poised to take on Broad's role, James Taylor.
Taylor averages 49.61 in the CB40 championship, and 34 in T20's. He led the England Lions to two victories in the recent one day series against Sri Lanka, scoring 111 from 132 deliveries in the deciding match and outscored several players who were selected ahead of him for the West Indies game. Why is Taylor so consistently overlooked by the selectors? It's obviously not a question of trust; when announced as the Lions captain, Taylor was lauded by the selectors for having a strong and mature head on his shoulders, qualities that any future England captain or player needs to have. Despite his county team finishing bottom of Division Two, Taylor has shone this year in the longer format of the game, and his skill has carried over to the limited overs games, as Leicestershire won the T20 finals only a fortnight ago.
Maybe it is because of Leicestershire's standing in the league that Taylor has been overlooked; the majority of players come from first division teams or the two teams that topped the second division. Warwickshire made a bid for Taylor only a few months ago, which Leicestershire captain Matthew Hoggard derided as "insulting", but as Hoggard pointed out, transferring to a team that has topped division one might improve Taylor's chances of England selection. But why should Taylor have to up sticks just to be in with a sniff of selection? His talent speaks for itself, and that should be enough for the selectors.
Ultimately, though, these T20 games aren't any sort of real competition; they are overhyped try outs to decide who goes to India when the real matches begin. There are some odd inclusions in the side; James Anderson might bowl well on lovely green English pitches but his struggles in the sub-contient have been well documented, and the four pronged spin attack and three wicket keepers implies that the selectors are taking a pick and mix approach to the T20 side. Equally, there are some shrewd inclusions - Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler have all shone for their counties this season, particularly in the short format. There are ups and downs to having a bowler as a captain, just as there are ups and downs to having a young team with a few 'veterans' thrown in for good measure. The real worry is the constant shifting about of the squad; with so few T20 games scheduled, there seems to be hardly any time for the team to gel before jetting off to India, or indeed the next World Cup. Only time will tell how well this team can perform.