England on right track - Collingwood

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Paul Collingwood

Paul Collingwood has taken confidence from England's recent performances and feels they are ready to retain the Ashes

Paul Collingwood feels England are well-equipped to retain the Ashes this winter providing they stick to the practices that have served them well over the last 18 months.

Collingwood is one of the senior members in a 16-man party that will depart for the Antipodes next month looking to secure a first series win Down Under for 24 years.

And while he is well aware of the threat posed by Ricky Ponting's side, the Durham batsman is confident England have the necessary qualities to ensure they come out on top.

"I think we have got a good chance," Collingwood told ecb.co.uk/video. "Obviously we have built up a lot of belief over the last 18 months and we have played some really good cricket.

"We all know that Australia are a very good side. Whenever we have played against them they have always been competitive games and we are very much looking forward to going there and taking them on.

"Sometimes you can go to places and try to do things differently to what you have done before and that can be a negative. I think you have got to stick to your strengths.

"Over the last 18 months we have managed to progress as a team. We have got a lot of confidence but also a lot of skill and I think if we stick to our strengths and stick together we should go well down there and be very competitive."

Collingwood admits he and many of his team-mates are spurred on by a desire to improve on their last Test series in Australia, where they slumped to a chastening 5-0 defeat.

The 34-year-old has experienced many highs with England during a distinguished international career, including captaining them to glory in this year's World Twenty20, but he is in no doubt where victory this winter would rank in his list of achievements.

Paul Collingwood & Adam Gilchrist

Collingwood compiled a double hundred on England's last Ashes tour but is determined to be part of a winning team this time around

"It's the pinnacle of anyone's career," he added. "To be picked for your country at any time is a real honour, but to know that you are going to take on the Aussies in their own backyard is something everybody wants to be involved in.

"It is the most difficult place to win a series and I think the satisfaction of winning a series down there would pretty much be the ultimate. Everyone wants to be involved and have a chance of doing that.

"It's something that we've been thinking about for a long time now, pretty much since the last time we were over there when we got beaten 5-0.

"Every single player who thought they could go back and make an impact has been thinking about the Ashes. We're ready for it."

Many observers have cited the opening Test at the Gabba as being crucial to England’s hopes of success and Collingwood agrees a strong start will be vital.

"I find Australia a great place to tour, but the media over there are different to the English media and certainly enjoy getting on your backs as soon as you arrive," he explained.

"I played a lot of club cricket over there when I was young and it's one of those countries where if you do well it's appreciated by all the public, but if you don't do so well they are the first people to get straight on your back and make if difficult for you.

"We've just got to make sure that we do start well and hopefully that will stand us in good stead for the rest of the tour."

Watch the full video interview with Paul Collingwood on ecb.co.uk/video