Collingwood named Cook's deputy

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Paul Collingwood

Paul Collingwood, who led England in both Twenty20s against Pakistan, will deputise for Alastair Cook if needed in Bangladesh

Paul Collingwood will serve as vice-captain to Alastair Cook on England’s tour of Bangladesh.

Team director Andy Flower confirmed Twenty20 skipper Collingwood will deputise for Cook - himself filling in for the rested Andrew Strauss - should he be unavailable for any part of the one-day or Test series.

Flower went public with his desire to have an official second in command on the day the squad headed to Dhaka following the completion of the Twenty20 series against Pakistan in Dubai.

Collingwood stood down as one-day captain in 2008 in order to concentrate on his own game and, although he has no desire to take charge on a permanent basis, he will provide support to Cook during the five-week tour.

“Paul Collingwood will be vice-captain for the Bangladesh tour, in both forms of the game,” Flower said.

“Even though I know he expresses a wish to merely be a foot soldier after his leadership in the Twenty20, if Cook gets injured he’ll take over.

“England sides in the past haven’t bothered nominating a vice-captain, but we’d like him to do it on this tour for both one-dayers and the Tests.

“I discussed it briefly with Alastair, and with the selectors and (managing director of England cricket) Hugh Morris.

“The last time Colly captained one-dayers, it took a lot out of him and he doesn’t want to put his name forward in a medium to long-term capacity for the captaincy. But he knows this would only be a stop-gap measure.

Alastair Cook

Andy Flower stressed the importance of Cook, above, knowing "how he wants to lead the side" on his maiden tour as captain

“He did a good job in the Twenty20s and if someone gets injured he’s quite happy to step into the breach.”

Kevin Pietersen, who led England briefly before losing the captaincy at the same time as head coach Peter Moores departed last January following a breakdown in communication, was considered for the role.

Flower added: “We had to consider all options as possible leadership candidates, and Kevin was one of them.

“He was up for consideration like everyone else in the squad, but in the end it was a simple cricketing decision.”

Despite opting for 33-year-old Collingwood, Flower suggested he would still be looking for Pietersen to play a supportive role to Cook over the next few weeks.

“I think both Colly and KP will help him,” said Flower. “But most important for Alastair is that he is quite clear in his own head how he wants to lead the side and how he will deal with the eternal challenge for cricket captains: leading a team while also making sure that your own game is in order.”

Bangladesh is sure to represent a physically tough experience for the England players but Flower is delighted with the shape his side are in.

He added: “We are continually looking to improve the physical side of our squad, and I’ve got to say Huw Bevan is a sensational physical trainer for us; his rugby background fits really nicely in the side.

“His influence has helped individuals make huge strides on the physical side. We did our fitness testing before we came out here and, as a group, I’d be surprised if any England side has had better fitness results than this one.”

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