Collingwood evokes spirit of 2005
Paul Collingwood has called on England to “go hard” at Australia in the Natwest Series in a bid to recreate the spirit of 2005.
Collingwood was a bystander for four of the five Ashes Tests in that memorable summer but played an integral part in the limited-overs programme that preceded the series.
In the sides’ first meeting of the tour, a Twenty20 international at the Rose Bowl, he bludgeoned 46 in 26 balls and picked up two wickets as England drew first blood with a 100-run victory.
The Durham all-rounder was also to the fore as England shared the subsequent Natwest Series with the tourists, scoring 53 in the final.
The full-blooded fashion in which England's one-day side attacked opponents, universally accepted as the best in the world, was widely credited with setting the tone for the Test successes.
Now, with another Ashes series starting Down Under in November, Collingwood wants to lay down a similar marker this time.
“We all remember that Twenty20 game at Hampshire where we kept nipping them out,” said Collingwood, ahead of Tuesday's opening one-day international at the same ground.
“I always remember the aggression we showed with the ball, Darren Gough coming in to bowl on a hat-trick ball and bowling a bouncer at Andrew Symonds.
“That was a bit of a benchmark as to how we wanted to attack Australia. Gough was coming in on a hat-trick and knew he would not get him out but just wanted to show that aggression.
“We never bowled to break their fingers but we were very aggressive.
“You’ve got to go hard at them. We’ve learnt that over the last five or six years.
“If you go hard at them and it comes off, it puts them under a lot of pressure. The 2005 series was a prime example because we had a lot of skill but also went hard at them and we’ll continue to do that.”
Two men who look ready to take Collingwood's advice to heart are openers Craig Kieswetter and Andrew Strauss.
The World Twenty20 hero and the returning captain played for the first time together in yesterday's seven-wicket win over Scotland at Edinburgh's Citylets Grange.
Strauss was rested during the Bangladesh tour earlier this year, with Kieswetter surging to prominence in his absence, but the pair combined to devastating effect in a stand worth 121 in 15 overs.
Gavin Hamilton, who resigned as Scotland captain for work reasons at the end of the match, was left suitably impressed by England's new-look opening pair.
“I've seen Kieswetter quite a bit and he just epitomises the way these boys are playing their cricket now,” said Hamilton, who earned a single England Test cap in 1999.
“He hits a clean ball, he backs himself and this is the epitome of new era for English cricket.
“Strauss is obviously a very decent player too. He's come and set his stall out in this one-day side.
“He maybe has a lot to prove but the way he played against us just showed he's a class act and I've got no doubt he'll fit his one-day game around this side.”