England won't ease up - Collingwood
Paul Collingwood is confident England will not suffer an Ashes hangover during the upcoming limited-overs series against Australia - not least because they have a World Cup to prepare for.
England have had little time to recover from the celebrations that followed their historic triumph at the SCG on Friday.
They will take on the Prime Minister’s XI in a 50-over match in Canberra tomorrow before zig-zagging around Australia for two Twenty20 and seven one-day internationals.
It is a punishing schedule that, while offering little time to reflect on their Ashes success, will form the large chunk of England’s preparations for the World Cup, which starts on the sub-continent next month.
With that in mind Collingwood has warned his team-mates that their job in Australia is only half done, as they look to fine-tune for a World Cup he believes they are capable of winning.
“It’s up to every single player to get their feet back on the ground, to keep that intensity up that we’ve been showing in practice and our preparation,” said the Durham batsman.
“We’ve got a group of lads who are very focused. We are very happy with what we have achieved so far on this trip, but we also realise that it’s not the end of the tour yet.
“We have a lot of things to do well before this World Cup. We knew it was going to be a huge six months for us coming over here and then on to India afterwards and we are not finished yet.
“It’s really about getting our feet back on the ground and getting back to work again.
“One of our main goals as a team is to win a World Cup, we haven’t done it as a team and we really believe we can achieve something like that.
“All of our efforts over the series will be directed towards trying to win it and give us the confidence that will help us to win a World Cup.”
England are yet to win a 50-over World Cup, however, the current team have spent the past 12 months breaking down such barriers.
Success in last year’s World Twenty20 in the Caribbean was England’s first major tournament victory and last week’s triumph in Sydney saw them end a 24-year wait for a coveted Ashes victory on Australian soil.
Winning a World Cup on the sub-continent represents an ambition that was arguably out of reach of England teams of the past, but Collingwood believes the snowballing confidence of the current squad ensures they are capable of delivering another trophy.
“I think we’ve got the skills to win out in India, I think we’ve shown that on different wickets around the world in the past couple of years,” he added.
“It is a very difficult thing to do to win a World Cup, we know that because we haven’t won one before, but we have the belief now. That’s a huge factor in winning major trophies.”
For that reason Collingwood, who will captain the team against the Prime Minister’s XI in the absence of rested skipper Andrew Strauss, believes it is important that his side maintain winning ways during the upcoming limited-overs series.
There had been some thought that England would prefer to adhere to a gameplan that will suit them on the spinning dustbowls of the sub-continent, rather than pick teams for the quicker Australian wickets.
But any notion England would not be wholly concerned by results in the next month were quickly rubbished by Collingwood, who claimed winning was the most important preparation for a World Cup.
“You saw the way we used the matches in the state games before the Tests, we didn’t use them as preparation matches, we went into them to win,” he added.
“It’s something that we’ve learned that works a lot for us. We are going to use these games to try and gain that winning culture because, as I said, the mental side is a huge part of it.
“If we can go in there with a lot of confidence and belief then I think that makes a hell of a difference.
“I believe we can adapt to any type of conditions we come up against, but you can’t change your game until you come up against those surfaces.
“What we have to do here, and we’ve been playing on different surfaces here all the time, is adapt to them and then go into the World Cup and see what the pitches are like over there.”