Collingwood ready to turn the corner
Despite enduring a forgettable tour of Australia with the bat, Paul Collingwood is confident his best form is not far away.
He managed just 83 runs during the Ashes while in the following limited-overs series he has averaged a mere 12.5 so far.
It is a run of form that can be terminal to a career of someone in the twilight of their international days - as Collingwood, who turns 35 in May, sensed when he retired from Test cricket following the Ashes.
That decision may have given him extra time in which to rediscover his form in the shorter formats and, with the World Cup now less than a month away, Collingwood is confident he will turn his fortunes around before then.
A timely run-a-ball 27 in yesterday's 21-run win in Adelaide, when his arrival at number seven in the late overs allowed him to play with a freedom he has seldom displayed so far on tour, gave an indication that an upturn in form could be imminent.
It was the first time Collingwood had passed 20 since the second Test in Adelaide a month and a half ago, providing him with some long-awaited encouragement.
"I'm the first to admit that I haven't been in great form and that's my role in the side," he said after the team's arrival in Brisbane for the fifth one-day international on Sunday.
"I'm trying every possible way to get back into good nick. I know from past experience that getting back into a good run of form can be pretty immediate.
"Maybe after an innings like yesterday when I hit a couple out of the middle of the bat, it might just click. I'm really confident it is just around the corner.
"I tried to resort to my strengths - going to the leg side - and thankfully it worked for a couple of shots. I was quite happy.”
A characteristic heaved six over midwicket off Brett Lee was the highlight - the stroke also saw him become the first Englishman to score 5,000 ODI runs - and he is hoping it proves to be the turning point he has been searching for.
"Things like that can click you back into form. The mental side of the game is huge," he added.
"David Boon said when he was at Durham back in 1998 that international cricket is 90% mental and 10% technique.
"At the time I didn't understand what he meant by it but the more I've played international cricket the more I understand that statement.
"Confidence is a huge factor. All the things that you take into your batting (are) very mental.
"Hopefully there will be less tension going out into the middle next time around and more confidence and that can do me the world of good.
"But yesterday I was happy with my game. I was just happy to pass 20. I hadn't done that for a while."
Despite taking pleasure in yesterday's efforts, Collingwood is determined to move back up the order.
Asked if he could see himself batting there in the long-term, he replied: “Hopefully not. Hopefully I can get back into better form and gradually get back up the order.
“It is disappointing to go down to number seven but we have a number of guys who are in good form.
“The ideal thing for me would to go back up the order, but whatever way you can contribute to England winning you go out there and do it.
“I’m the first to admit that I haven’t been in great form and that’s my role (as a batsman) in the side. I’m trying every possible way to get back into good nick.
“I guess I was just happy to be in the side with the way that the form has been going with that bat.
“I feel as though I can do a fifth bowler role, I have done in the past. I’m just happy to be in the side and contributing well.”
For now, Collingwood is focused on trying to help his side remain alive in the current seven-game series against Australia after their victory yesterday.
“There is a lot of belief in this side,” he added, shortly after arriving in Brisbane ahead of the fifth game of the series on Sunday.
“We didn’t show the skill element in the first few games, but we are fighters. I think we’ve always been good coming from behind.
"It’s not a position that you always want to be in but you keep scrapping and we’ll continue to do that in the next couple of games.”