Collingwood relishing return to helm
Paul Collingwood is thrilled to be captaining England again following his appointment as skipper for the World Twenty20 on home turf in June.
Collingwood led his country in limited overs cricket for just over a year, from the summer of 2007. However, he stood down last August citing the impact the responsibility was having on his game.
His period at the helm included England’s disappointing campaign in the inaugural World Twenty20 held in South in September 2007.
However, given the opportunity to take the England reins for this year’s competition, the 32-year-old decided to accept the challenge.
It will mean working with another recently-appointed supremo, team director Andy Flower, whom Collingwood consulted before taking the role.
“We obviously discussed in quite long detail about the job,” Collingwood said. “I guess we looked at the pros and the cons, the ups and downs of what happened last time, how it affected my personal game and really just looked at the pros and the cons this time round.
“I think, for a period of three weeks, to have an opportunity like this is exciting and I can’t see it taking too much energy away from other forms of the game.
“We’ve got a hell of a long summer coming up and we’re adamant we want to win them Ashes back and that’s a major priority.
“I didn’t want captaincy of one-dayers or Twenty20 to take any kind of energy away. Really I just looked long and hard at the whole situation and thought this is a great opportunity.”
Working with Flower will be nothing new to Collingwood who took over the one-day captaincy a month after Flower became England assistant coach in May 2007.
Flower has already stamped his authority on the England set-up as acting coach during the tour of West Indies, when he impressed Collingwood.
“As I said a couple of months back, I would need a lot of persuading, and Andy was superb in everything he said to us,” he continued.
“He wanted me to do the job and when you get someone like that, who backs you as much as he did, I’m delighted to have that opportunity again.
“I think we can work very, very well together. I think Andy’s done superbly well since he’s come in under difficult circumstances through the West Indies.
“He’s a very honest guy and I like the way that he approaches the game and approaches coaching. I think we’ll have a great relationship. It will be a very short one in terms of the period we’re doing it, one I’m sure we’ll get on very, very well.”
Collingwood’s excitement at leading England has only been heightened by the make-up of the 15-man squad announced yesterday.
The all-rounder had his say in selection, including four players uncapped in international Twenty20 cricket: Essex wicketkeeper James Foster, Kent opener Rob Key, Middlesex batsman Eoin Morgan and Essex all-rounder Graham Napier.
“I’ve certainly had an input in the squad and it’s a squad that I’m absolutely delighted with,” Collingwood confirmed.
“Whether you call them Twenty20 specialists or whatever, I think they’ve been successful at Twenty20 cricket but they’ve also been successful at other forms of the game.
“It’s an exciting squad, the likes of ‘Keysey’ coming in, James Foster the wicketkeeper coming in, Eoin Morgan, Napier.”
“They are exciting Twenty20 cricketers and what they’ve got is experience in that form of the game as well with domestically and hopefully they can take that into the international form of the game.
“It’s slightly different in some ways but I’m sure that experience will help a hell of a lot.”