Collingwood serious about England recall
Paul Collingwood has insisted he isn't jetting around the world playing Twenty20 cricket just to inflate his bank account but has serious ambitions to regain the England place he lost after last year's World Cup.
On Monday he was unveiled as captain of a new franchise in South Africa's Twenty20 competition, named Impi, where he will ply his trade before linking up with Rajasthan Royals in the IPL having recently completed his stint with Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League. Then there is his county career with Durham which will resume in mid-May following the spell in India.
Collingwood remains the only England captain to win a global one-day trophy with the 2010 World Twenty20 in the Caribbean. In September, England defend their title in Sri Lanka and, although chances of a recall are remote, Collingwood hasn't given up hope of being there.
"I am very ambitious and motivated to try and get back in. I know I will have to have six amazing months if I want to do that though," Collingwood told ESPNcricinfo. "England know what I can do when I am in form and I know when I am out of form, I look pretty horrible."
Collingwood actually had a lean BBL, scoring 113 runs in seven innings and bowling three overs in nine matches, but believes his experience could play a part in turning around England's one-day fortunes. They have struggled away from home, losing all five matches in their ODI series in India last October and going down 6-1 to Australia in January either side of the quarter-final exit at the World Cup.
With a not-so-subtle hint towards England's recent problems in India and UAE, Collingwood said he was "a decent player of spin" and admitted it wasn't easy to see his former team-mates struggle.
"They are still hunting for the right formula and it is a bit frustrating watching from the sidelines," Collingwood said. "But it's nice for players to have some security like I did when I was playing."
For now, though, he is concentrating on furthering his 20-over career in as many ways possible. "I see the IPL as a great learning curve because you get to play with against players from around the world, some of them who you have never even spoken to before," he said. "You can take a lot of confidence from playing in a tournament like the IPL. I see it as a six-week crash course in 20-over cricket."
Although England did not get a single player sold in the recent IPL auction, Collingwood said he thought that was only as a result of schedule clashes and did not reflect the pedigree of English talent.
Twenty-over leagues have mushroomed around the world with Zimbabwe and Bangladesh also launching marquee competitions but Collingwood does not think the franchise concept will work in England. "Cricket has a lot of tradition in England and the counties have been around for a long time. It's very difficult to change traditions like that."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent