Collingwood travels with England
England arrived in Bangladesh today without Graeme Swann, as planned, but with Paul Collingwood for the start of their World Cup campaign.
It was anticipated that Collingwood, like Swann, would join Andrew Strauss’ squad later than his colleagues in order to first attend the birth of his daughter.
But that happy event has already taken place, meaning Collingwood - one of a clutch of England players who was also nursing a minor injury - will be available for Wednesday’s first warm-up match against Canada in Fatullah.
Strauss confirmed at his arrival press conference at the team hotel in Dhaka: “Graeme Swann’s not here yet. His wife is just about to give birth. He’ll be attending that.”
But of Collingwood, he added: “His wife has given birth to a lovely little daughter.
“He’s here, and his back is getting a lot better. So he should be fully fit.”
England’s World Twenty20-winning captain Collingwood retired from Test cricket last month.
He did so on the back of a run of poor batting form, but Strauss has backed the veteran Durham man to make significant scores on the sub-continent and hailed his all-round talents.
As well as averaging 35.68 from his 193 one-day internationals, Collingwood has also taken 110 wickets and is regarded as one of the best fielders in the world.
Strauss said: “Paul Collingwood’s greatest strength is that he contributes all over the park.
“His bowling has been very effective, probably a lot more than people would have thought in Australia, and he is the sort of bowler who should do well out here.
“He is an unbelievable fielder as well.
“That’s what he brings to the party, and why he’s such an invaluable member of our side.
“I think he’ll come back into form with the bat as well. He’s too good a player not to - and if he does so, he could have a dramatic impact on our chances in the World Cup.”
Collingwood and Stuart Broad, who has not played since tearing an abdominal muscle in the Adelaide Test more than two months ago, are both expected to be fit for the whole tournament.
The prognosis on England’s other injury worries is generally encouraging too, although Yorkshire seamers Tim Bresnan and Ajmal Shahzad may have to sit out the preparation fixtures against Canada and then Pakistan on Friday.
“One or two of them may still not be quite right for the warm-up games - certainly Bresnan and possibly Shahzad as well,” said Strauss.
“We’re monitoring it on a day-by-day basis.
“But our injury situation is getting better every day. We haven’t got any real long-term concerns with the players we have here - and that is generally a relief for us as a group.”