Collingwood lends support to Cook

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Paul Collingwood

Paul Collingwood addresses the media in Dubai, where he backed Alastair Cook to lead England strongly in Bangladesh

Paul Collingwood has backed stand-in captain Alastair Cook to stamp his authority on the England team during their tour of Bangladesh.

Collingwood will lead the side for two Twenty20 matches against World Twenty20 champions Pakistan in Dubai before Cook, in the absence of Andrew Strauss, takes over the reigns when the side touch down in Dhaka.

And while Collingwood will be on hand to give the 25-year-old any help he requires, he is convinced Cook must lead the side in his own style.

“I haven’t given him any (advice) as yet. I’ve obviously got the first week here as captain myself but Cooky will do it his own way,” said Collingwood at England's first press conference on the trip to Dubai.

“That’s the important thing when you do the captaincy, that you do it yourself and have your own ideas. Obviously he’s got a lot of strong characters around him and a lot of experienced players but he’s an experienced England cricketer himself.

“We are there to support him if there are areas he needs help with but he’s really got to do it 100% himself and take the team in the direction he wants to take them in.”

Collingwood had himself been touted as a potential captain for the Test trip in Strauss’ absence but having already been given - and vacated - the one-day job, he is happy to defer to Cook.

“I’ve had a go at the captaincy and we all know it was mentally fatiguing, we all saw the effects on my game at a personal level,” he added.

“I’m happy doing the Twenty20 job. This is a great opportunity to bring someone through, someone with new ideas, a young guy.

“He’ll bring a lot to the party. It’s important he gets this experience because you never know when Straussy is going to pick up an injury and we’ve got to have people who can step into his shoes.”

Collingwood called upon players on the fringe of England’s Twenty20 squad to stake their claim for a place at the ICC World Twenty20.

Though time is short between this winter tour and the start of the tournament in the Caribbean in late April, the captain maintained there was still time for others to force their way into the reckoning.

Ravi Bopara

The players set for IPL stints, of which Ravi Bopara is one, have not been discounted from Twenty20 consideration

Ravi Bopara, Dimitri Mascarenhas and Owais Shah all have Indian Premier League contracts but are not part of the current squad, and Collingwood believes the selectors will consider all options.

“There’s going to be people from outside this squad who will get opportunities,” he said.

“There is the IPL going on before the Twenty20 World Cup and that will give a few players who are going out there a chance to be successful and put their name forward.

“We have a nucleus of a squad here and they are players who’ve done well in the one-day format of the game. We want to push them forward in the Twenty20 format but that is not to close the door on other players.

"We’re getting closer and closer but we’re not there yet.”

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