September 1, 2007

English cricket

Collingwood's graft pays dividends for England

Will Luke
Ravi Bopara cuts the ball during his unbeaten 43,  England v India, 4th ODI, Old Trafford, August 30, 2007
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Ravi Bopara and Stuart Broad’s thrilling 99-run partnership (see video) continues to warm the cockles of the English media, and Bopara has revealed how his experience in this year’s World Cup helped him through at Old Trafford last week.

"I thought out there that this was a similar situation to the one against Sri Lanka in the World Cup and I didn't want to go through the disappointment of not finishing it off this time," Bopara admitted yesterday. "You learn from your mistakes I guess and I didn't want to fall short again."

[…]

Bopara's remarkable cool would have been tested after a mix-up with his captain, Paul Collingwood, resulted in the latter being run out for 47. But instead of rebuke, Bopara found his captain encouraging him to take responsibility for winning the match.

"He was very good about it and when he was given out on the replay he looked me in the eyes and said, 'Finish the game for us'. I told him I would.

"I don't think there was any blame for the run-out, but you can't afford to dwell on it. It was just a mix-up."

Read Derek Pringle’s piece in The Daily Telegraph.

Paul Collingwood at a press conference ahead of the first ODI of the Natwest series between England and India, the Rose Bowl, 20 August, 2007
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In the same paper Sue Mott meets a very humble Paul Collingwood, England’s one-day captain.

"I've felt that fear of failure massively. It's in every professional sportsman somewhere. I always realised I didn't have the best technique. I'm not Brian Lara or Sachin Tendulkar. The crowd doesn't say, 'What an amazing shot that was by Collingwood!' when I'm batting. I score my runs in my own manner. But in the mental side of the game I can make up a bit on the talented players.

[…]

"Everyone asks who were your heroes growing up. I didn't actually have heroes. It was my brother, Peter, four years older than me. Even though he beat me up. Not really, it was just the competition between us. I wanted to be better than my brother at everything, cricket in the street, football. I wanted to do the same things as him, support the same team as him, everything.

"He was a policeman. He's a plumber now. He still plays cricket at weekends. He gets a hell of a lot of stick. He loves seeing what I'm doing, watching the games I'm playing.

"I got my values from my parents. They're just so proud of me, it's unbelievable. My mam's just retired a couple of weeks ago after working as a ward aid in a mental hospital. My dad's a maintenance fitter for a caravan company. Their holidays are watching cricket. That's all they do. They'd never been abroad until two years ago.

Over at the Times, Richard Hobson wonders where it has all gone right for England.

Paul Collingwood said that it would take time to impose his style on a young squad, but players are beginning to show the self-belief that he values above all other qualities.

They have taken a 3-1 lead over India while Kevin Pietersen’s biggest contribution has been the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar and Andrew Flintoff has yet to find his timing at the crease. Flintoff has been exceptional with the ball, but the stars of the first four games have been Ian Bell and James Anderson, both 25, and Stuart Broad, 21.

Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo

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