Australia v England, 1st ODI, Melbourne January 16, 2011

Strauss backs struggling Collingwood for World Cup

16

Paul Collingwood has been told to go away and clear his mind before he regains his place in England's one-day side, after being dropped for the opening match against Australia in Melbourne. Collingwood has been a fixture of the ODI outfit for nearly a decade and has played at two World Cups, but despite being axed he appears almost certain to add a third to his resume, according to the captain Andrew Strauss.

"It is a bit of a form thing," Strauss said. "We feel that he's been struggling with the bat for a while now. The best way for him to come back is to spend a bit of time out of the side and refresh his mind. He's obviously a very important part of our one-day setup and will be going forward to the World Cup, but he's not in great nick at the moment. It's tough on him but it would have been tough on someone else to be left out as well."

Collingwood, 34, has retired from Test cricket, ending with a miserable series personally, as he made 83 runs in the five Tests at 13.83, but still an enormously satisfying one as his team won the Ashes away from home. He remains England's Twenty20 captain but in the 50-over format, he faces a fight to win back his place, and it seems unlikely he'll be in the mix until much later in the series.

"It's a seven-match series, so there are a lot of [selection] permutations," Strauss said. "We'd like him to spend the next week or so just clearing his mind, and obviously doing some work in the nets, but primarily getting his mind clear and making sure he's very clear on how he wants to play his game.

"He's not going to change his game, he's going to play the same way. But sometimes you need a clear mind, and you don't want to be thinking too much about the dismissals you've had recently, you just want to be able to go out and see the ball and hit the ball."

The form of Kevin Pietersen could make it even tougher for Collingwood to force his way back in, although it also provides him with some inspiration. Pietersen was dropped during the one-day series against Pakistan in September but in his first match back, proved he has plenty to offer the side, in compiling a classy 78 from 75 balls in the six-wicket loss at the MCG.

"He showed his quality today," Strauss said. "He's able to clear the boundary, kept putting pressure on the opposition bowlers. He's had a bit of a fallow period in one-day cricket but he showed his class today."

Pietersen's efforts were not enough against an Australian side carried by a herculean 161 from Shane Watson, and it's the second consecutive win for the hosts after they triumphed in the second Twenty20 in Melbourne on Friday. But there is plenty of time remaining for England to turn things around.

"They're one-nil up in the series now," Strauss said, "but we're still very confident that we can win this series."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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  • 5wombats on January 17, 2011, 21:14 GMT

    Look what happens when I'm away for a few days on business (in Greenland!). Good comments here. In the main. Except - @Something_Witty - you're not being churlish are you? Marcio is right - Colly is quality and it's grievous that he's out of form just before the WC. But look - he had the nup to step down out of the Test team at the right time. Can you think of an Aussie that ought to step down out of the test team right now? I can. It's noticable too that Australia can win ODI's without Ponting - and this has to be good for Australian cricket. I won't have anyone slag off Paul Collingwood. Don't write him off! He has all of the tough cricketing qualities - very strong mentally, hit him with your hardest and he'll just get up and hit back. The man is a legend. OMG - I agreed with Marcio again!

  • jackiethepen on January 17, 2011, 17:29 GMT

    Colly is a key player but in the past he has been a key batsman. Wright was also dropped for the game but no-one seems to have noticed. Yardy looked all at sea with his batting but seems to have a charmed life regarding selection. His bowling has got to justify his place. There are other spinners who should have been tested like Patel. As for Bell and Trott they are in form batsmen. Bell is out of position at 5 however and needs to be higher up the order to exploit his skills and newly advanced SR. Not that sure about Trott. He is slow but steady. Is this the right way to go? I thought England had abandoned that approach? Bell was urged to put more power into his batting and he has done that. As a batsman he is a class above Trott and as a fielder too.

  • Harlequin. on January 17, 2011, 17:21 GMT

    @Sandeep - 'deserves better treatment'? no chance, and i don't think he would be asking for it either. There is a saying in the north east of england (where Colly is from); 'ye divn't get owt fer nowt'. translated means, 'you don't get something for nothing' and so far in Australia, Colly has had nothing.

  • Something_Witty on January 17, 2011, 10:55 GMT

    @JB77, yeah a few people noticed it. It's quite bewildering really that the umpires have allowed it. Add that to Strauss' moving around in the field while the bowler was running in to bowl (back-pedalling from midwicket as fast as he could), and England have a few questions to answer IMO. It's just not on, and as some would say, it's just not cricket!

  • JB77 on January 17, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    @ Something_Witty: Glad I'm not the only one who noticed the Poms abusing the sub rule (again).

  • nair_ottappalam on January 17, 2011, 8:53 GMT

    Colly a dear miss in the first ODI. Hope he will be in the world cup squad.

  • landl47 on January 17, 2011, 6:03 GMT

    England really needs Colly playing well to have their best chance in the WC. England doesn't have a Watson and Colly's the only one among the batsmen who can be relied on for some economical overs to act as cover for anyone who isn't having a good day, or to take the pace off the ball if the quicks are going round the park. The absence of a true all-rounder means that England are playing with 5 specialist batsmen, a W/K and five bowlers; all the bowlers can bat a bit but none is a 6 or 7, they're all 8s and 9s. If Colly can get runs, then the balance isn't too bad. If he can't then effectively England is only playing 4 specialist batsmen if he's in the side. It's a dilemma for the selectors and they must be hoping desperately that Colly gets his mojo back. There's one thing, with Strauss and Flower in charge, he's got the best manager/captain team in world cricket helping him find his form.

  • Something_Witty on January 17, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    At least England won't miss his fielding if they keep playing him as the 12th man in a specialist fielder's role. Sneaky sneaky poms.

  • Nadeem1976 on January 17, 2011, 5:09 GMT

    Good captaincy, just give him to time to regroup his mind and he will be fine. Remember he is good batsman, good bowler and a very good fielder. I think in terms of ODI his overal presence can make 30 to 40 runs difference in all three departments. He should be part of WC becuase of experience. Have fun coli.

  • souths70 on January 17, 2011, 2:43 GMT

    Isn't it funny with the Western sides that the players almost read they are too old and believe the comments. The combacks are very rare and almost stimmied by selection panels and other political factors.

    Look at both Dravid and Tendulkar. They do not have these beliefs. Both looked ready for the scrapheap and if Australian, New Zealand or English would probably be on it about 18 months ago for The King and two and half years ago for Dravid. Seriously these two chaps are inspirational. Tendulkar's form looks like some of the best of his career !!!

    Ponting, Hussey, Katich, Collingwood and Vetori should actually be striving for the same goals if they seriously want their respective International careers to continue in a positive and growing light, rather than speculating whether they will be even picked for the next match. Age is in the mind. Groucho Marks once said he wished he never knew his age, then he wouldn't know how he was SUPPOSED to act.

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