England v New Zealand, 3rd Test, Trent Bridge June 3, 2008

Collingwood fresh after time away

Cricinfo staff


Paul Collingwood is focussed on battling his way out of his poor run of form © Getty Images
 
Paul Collingwood is confident that a few days away from the spotlight will help him regain his form in the final Test against New Zealand at Trent Bridge. Instead of playing for Durham against Sussex in the County Championship, he opted for some rest and a couple of intensive one-on-one sessions with Andy Flower, the England batting coach.

Collingwood has struggled in the early part of the season, both for county and country. He has 32 runs in three innings in the current series, and 24 of those came in a scratchy effort that helped England across the line at Old Trafford. He hasn't made a century for almost a year, when he reached three figures at Chester-le-Street, his home ground, against West Indies.

There was the opportunity for him to get some middle time in the Championship between Tests, but Collingwood believes his decision to step back for a few days will pay dividends.

"There was a choice to make, but in international cricket there is never much time to work on things technically," he told the Press Association. "This was an opportunity after two back-to-back Test matches to go away, have a look at it from the outside rather than going straight back into cricket and seeing what I really needed.

"At the time it was decided the best thing for me was to work on my game. Andy [Flower] came up to Durham for a couple of days and we had two very good sessions and worked a bit technically but spoke about the game more than anything else - sometimes that works better than anything else."

Collingwood can draw on memories of when he hauled himself out of his previous England slump, on the 2006-07 tour of Australia. Following his double century in Adelaide he suffered a lean end to the Test series and then made 83 runs in his first six innings of the CB Series. However, he bounced back with two match-winning centuries and a 70 in the next three innings. His turnaround in Australia came from something as simple as changing his bat grip.

"There have been plenty of other times in my career I've been in bad nick," he said. "The last time I came out of a run like this all I did was change my grip to pink and that was pretty much it - I might even change it this week as well to see what happens."

Collingwood is playing with a long-standing shoulder injury after having an injection before the series. He only bowled one over at Old Trafford, but could be needed for more at Trent Bridge in conditions that usually favour swing bowling.

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