Colly aims to follow World T20 script
Paul Collingwood need look no further back than England’s World Twenty20 triumph last year for evidence that they can win the World Cup.
England, under Collingwood’s captaincy, improved the longer the 2010 tournament went on, peaking in the final when they beat Australia in comprehensive fashion.
Their record in World Cups is less impressive - they have not won the global one-day showpiece since its inception in 1975 - and face the prospect of failing to qualify for the quarter-finals should they fail to beat West Indies in Chennai on Thursday.
Defeats to Ireland and Bangladesh contrast sharply with victory over South Africa and a tie against India, and have left England’s players in agreement over the urgent need for consistency ahead of their final Group B game.
Collingwood is no different, yet he takes comfort from the manner in which they achieved World T20 glory in the Caribbean.
“I see things developing very much how the Twenty20 did last year in the West Indies,” he said. “We scraped through the group stages, but once we did we really put our performances together and went on to win it. I hope there is a good omen there.
“If we put everything together in one package we will be a huge force and very, very hard to beat. We want to do that against the West Indies.
“We really need to focus on getting this complete game. We really have to look at the positives and focus on our strengths.”
While Collingwood acknowledges that England have failed to marry all three aspects of their game in any of their five group matches, he is also eager to point out that they are only a short run of form away from the ultimate one-day achievement.
“There aren’t many times in your career where you can say if you win four games on the trot you can win a World Cup,” he stressed.
He also knows it will be a regret if he cannot look back one day on a successful World Cup campaign, although he refuses to allow thoughts of retirement from all international cricket - he called time on his Test career after the Ashes - enter his head at such a crucial juncture in this tournament.
“I’ve had a few chances at a World Cup; some only get one,” he said. “Yes, a World Cup win is something you’d absolutely love to have in your career.
“But I’m not even thinking that way. We’ve got too much to think about here. We’ve got to beat the West Indies.”
A six-week World Cup on the back of an Ashes tour lasting more than three months is sure to tax even the fittest sportsmen, and, while Collingwood refuses to blame a busy winter for England’s inconsistent performances in this tournament, he is glad the powers that be are making moves to lighten the players’ load.
Hugh Morris, managing director England Cricket, today confirmed that England will in future play five rather than seven one-day internationals in Australia.
“It’s not ideal having two huge series or tournaments together,” said Collingwood, who along, with the rest of the squad, took a break from training today after yesterday’s two flights from Bangladesh. They will not practice tomorrow either.
“In many ways, you wait for these things - then having these two together in one year, it’s like having two Olympics in the same winter.
“The schedule is getting changed, which is better for the future. But we can’t make that as an excuse. We’re focused on knowing if we win those four games we win the World Cup.”
West Indies, who are hoping opening batsman Chris Gayle will be available against England after an abdominal injury, practised at the MA Chidambaram Stadium this afternoon.