Collingwood sees best England yet
Watch Paul Collingwood's press conference in the video player above
Paul Collingwood believes England will be able to field their strongest Twenty20 side to date in the Caribbean.
The 33-year-old is again leading his country in the ICC World Twenty20, having been captain for the previous two competitions - in England last year and South Africa in 2007.
Collingwood’s 15-man squad includes two uncapped members at Twenty20 international level, Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb, but otherwise boasts a fair degree of experience.
The mix has left Collingwood raring to go, as England arrived in Barbados for warm-up matches against Bangladesh on Wednesday and South Africa on Thursday.
They then head in Guyana for their Group D fixtures versus West Indies and Ireland, next Monday and Tuesday respectively.
“This is the most excited I’ve been, definitely, with a squad of players,” Collingwood enthused.
“I really feel our bowling has come on in the past year or so, just playing one-day cricket. Some of the lads during the first game with Pakistan, I thought we bowled exceptionally well there.
“I think the bowling has always been a strength of ours in the past, but I think the batting has caught up to that now.
“I think there are a couple of unknowns in there, but I think the kind of confidence and the power they could give us at the top of the order, it really looks a good strength side that we can do some damage with.
“A lot of the guys have been working on their strength and their fitness and some of the fielding stuff we’ve been doing in the past year, so I think we’re developing all the time and (are) a better team in the Twenty20 format than we’ve ever had.”
Part of that development is a virtue of the fact that five of the squad - Collingwood, Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara and Lumb - were involved in this year’s Indian Premier League.
Collingwood was an ever-present for Delhi Daredevils once he joined up with the franchise, following England’s tour of Bangladesh.
Despite a gruelling winter schedule, the all-rounder does not feel tired and is ready to use the lessons he learnt in the IPL.
“This year obviously I played all the games, which helped," he said. "It was very enjoyable.
“I feel refreshed from it, believe it or not, but there is a lot to learn and until you’ve experienced the IPL and experienced the kind of atmospheres that goes with it, and different stuff you do off the field as well, you don’t really know what it’s all about.
“I’ve come away from it and again I feel I’ve learnt a lot from just playing in it. Hopefully that helps me as a captain decide on different things as the game goes on.”
During the IPL Collingwood maintained his outstanding winter form, which saw him excel in all formats of the game for England.
While he is aware he will have to adapt again for the group games in Guyana, the he is confident he can continue where he left off.
“I’m feeling in really good nick still,” he added. “The wickets out there are a little bit indifferent. Probably they turn more than we would like. But I still feel as though I’m adapting well to conditions.
“I still feel I’m hitting the ball in the middle and thankfully I’m still hitting a few sixes here and there.”