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Flower upbeat over Collingwood injury

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Paul Collingwood

Paul Collingwood "should be alright," replied Andy Flower when asked of the all-rounder's chances of being ready for England's World Cup campaign

England team director Andy Flower is confident Paul Collingwood will be fit for the World Cup despite the all-rounder returning home early from the tour of Australia.

Collingwood suffered a back injury while batting in the sixth one-day international of the Commonwealth Bank Series in Sydney on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old was unable to bowl at the SCG and was subsequently ruled out of the final match of the rubber and England’s tour - in Perth on Sunday.

As such, Flower said it was a sensible decision to allow Collingwood as much time as possible to recover ahead of England’s departure for the World Cup on February 12.

“He should be alright,” Flower confirmed. “He’s being sent home to get looked after back in England by the specialist.

“His lower back needs a scan and the right sort of treatment and the sooner he got home the better. He wouldn’t have been available for this last game anyway.

“He’s going to be a very important member of our World Cup side so we needed to get him off home early.”

Collingwood is the fifth member of England’s one-day squad to head home prematurely through injury towards the end of a gruelling tour of Australia.

Tim Bresnan (calf) followed Graeme Swann (back) before Ajmal Shahzad (hamstring) and Chris Tremlett (side) joined them this week.

Such complications are hardly unexpected by Flower, who said: “We’ve been here over three months now and with the intensity at which the guys play their cricket, and with the intensity that we demand at training, it is no surprise that people will pick up injuries and break down at the end of a long, hard tour.”

Of the injured quintet - all part of the World Cup squad aside from Tremlett - Flower revealed Bresnan’s injury is the most serious, but he hopes the seamer will be fit for England’s first group game - versus the Netherlands on February 22.

Asked who is the most doubtful, Flower replied: “Probably Bresnan, considering the site of his injury, just above his Achilles tendon in his lower calf.

David Hussey & Tim Bresnan

Flower said Tim Bresnan's problem is the most severe, "considering the site of his injury, just above his Achilles tendon in his lower calf"

"But he’s not a man that’s suffered injuries, or not many injuries in the past, and hopefully he will recover very quickly and be ready somewhere near the start.”

Flower stressed everything possible is being done to get the injured World Cup quartet - plus Tremlett, who is an important back-up bowler - ready for the trip to the sub-continent.

“Of course the timing of them getting back to full fitness is important for the start of the World Cup, but we can’t be absolutely certain of that at this stage - we’re monitoring them on a daily basis,” he added.

“It’s our job to be at our peak as close to the start of the World Cup as possible so that’s what we’ll be aiming for.”

Hitting top form at the global showpiece will involve balancing England’s best batting and bowling line-ups in the sub-continental conditions.

While the spate of injuries have affected the tourists’ current selection, Flower hopes to face the welcome problem presented by a fully fit squad.

“We always want to bat as long as possible but you’ve got to balance that with your bowling options,” he said.

“Having a sixth (bowling) option out at the World Cup will be important, so we have our ideas of that balance of the side and there are some tricky decisions to be made at that World Cup as there have been during this one-day series.”

Although England trail 5-1 in the ongoing contest, Flower sees no reason why they cannot finish on a high at the WACA.

Their batting is certainly looking in good shape with the tourists thrice beating their previous best ODI total in Australia during the series.

Jonathan Trott

Jonathan Trott "has been superb," Flower added. "To score an 84 and two hundreds in quick succession is a very impressive output"

The latest of those records was a superlative 333 for six in Sydney and, although the hosts overhauled that total, Flower was impressed by his side’s endeavour.

“I thought our guys fought incredibly hard in that last game in the heat in Sydney,” he added.

“It was a great game of cricket. I think there were some sore bodies out there; people limping on and off the field, but they gave everything they had in defending that 330.

“Unfortunately we didn’t win that game but we will be doing the same here in Perth - going to win it.”

England’s mammoth total was underpinned by Jonathan Trott’s one-day-best 137, an epic innings that defied searing afternoon heat.

That took the right-hander, who also scored a fifty in the first game at Sydney and a century in Adelaide, to 361 series runs at an average of 72.2.

“Trott has been superb. To score an 84 and two hundreds in quick succession is a very impressive output,” Flower enthused. “Those are the sorts of standards that we are looking for from our batsmen.

“I thought in this last innings he showed the sort of tempo that he’s going to need at the World Cup in the middle overs he didn’t only rotate the strike but he also struck some boundaries that upped our momentum.

“He’s been very solid for us with the bat and we’re expecting more in Perth in two days’ time.”

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