Winning is everything for Colly

Paul Collingwood

Paul Collingwood enjoyed a successful series against Pakistan © Getty Images

Paul Collingwood’s burning desire this winter is for England to win the Ashes - even if that means he is not in the team.

Collingwood, who top-scored for England with 38 in last Sunday’s ICC Champions Trophy defeat to India, played in the Brit Oval finale which secured the urn last summer and is eyeing a more permanent role this winter.

The 30-year-old faces competition from Alastair Cook and Ian Bell for a place in the middle-order due to the return to fitness of captain Andrew Flintoff.

“I have been trying for 12 months to get into the Ashes side,” Collingwood said.

“I got in for the one match last time and loved it. I love Test cricket - I have played pretty much 12 months' now and would love to play in the Ashes.

“But it is going to be an interesting selection dilemma.

“The three of us who have competed all year have known that and that is why we have put in some big performances. That competition has been excellent for the side.

"All I am interested in is to come back having won the Ashes, whether that means I have played all the games, one or two or none at all.

Alastair Cook & Paul Collingwood

Collingwood faces stiff batting competition from youngster Alastair Cook © Getty Images

“If we come back with the Ashes in our possession I am happy for English cricket.”

Each of the three candidates averaged in excess of 50 in the recent Test series against Pakistan, which began with Collingwood hitting a Test-best 186 at Lord’s.

Now he is looking to get into some batting rhythm during the stay on the sub-continent, with England’s second match, intriguingly, against Australia this Saturday.

“It is always nice to go into anything with a bit of form,” said Collingwood.

“Going into the Ashes I don’t think selection will be 100% based on these performances. Once we get into the warm-up games, that will be when it starts for the Ashes.”

However, a good innings will only add to the confidence gleaned from three one-day wins and a tie in the past seven limited-overs meetings between the countries.

“Australia will want to make a mark this weekend, stamp their authority and come out all guns blazing,” Collingwood added.

“We won the Ashes off them last year so they have got some points to prove.

“We are really excited about the game. Whenever you play against Australia it is exciting because they are the best side in the world but more so because the Ashes are coming up.”

England took a couple of blows at practice on Tuesday as Flintoff was hit on shoulder while facing the bowling machine and James Anderson was struck on the back of the head by a stray ball during fielding drills.

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