Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, 1st day January 3, 2011

Collingwood contemplates Test future

ESPNcricinfo staff

Paul Collingwood has admitted that his Test future is on the line, and recognises the need to make a big contribution in the final Test of the Ashes series at Sydney, after a troubling run of form in which he has made 11 or less in eight of his last ten Test innings.

Collingwood's last Test innings of note was his 82 in the first innings against Pakistan at Trent Bridge in July, in which he formed a matchwinning partnership with the centurion, Eoin Morgan, who is now his chief rival for a permanent berth in the middle order. In the current Ashes campaign he has made 70 runs at 14.00, with a top score of 42 at Adelaide.

"My form during this series and most recently my latest failure in the fourth Test in Melbourne means the subject of my Test future was bound to be raised sooner or later,' Collingwood was quoted as saying by the Mail on Sunday.

"I am obviously disappointed with the series I have had with the bat so far. I can't get away from the fact that scoring runs is my job in the side, so I won't hide away. I have still got a lot of fight left in me. I honestly feel as fit as I have ever been. I am enjoying Test cricket and playing for England more than I ever have done and our success, and if you are enjoying it why would you give it up?

"But on a personal level, this is a big week for me in Sydney," he added. "I am at the crossroads and what happens in the final Test may well determine what direction I go in. I am sure by the end of this Test, I will know more myself and be better able to judge what the general feeling is in terms of where I am as a Test player and the contribution I can still make to the England team in future and what is the best way forward."

Collingwood has barely missed a Test in four years since he secured a permanent spot in the middle order on the tour of India in March 2006, and he is an integral member of the limited-overs squad as well, particularly the Twenty20 team which he captained to victory in the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean in May. However, at the age of 34, and with the World Cup in the subcontinent looming as his next big challenge, the time may be nigh to step down from the longest form of the game.

"The desire within me to go out and score a hundred against Australia in Sydney, help the team to a 3-1 win and crack on is still strong," he said. "Yet, at the same time, I understand the arguments 100 per cent and I understand there are other batsmen after my spot. And the bottom line is that, at my age, if you are not scoring runs yourself you do not deserve a place in the side."

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  • Dummy4 on January 4, 2011, 6:45 GMT

    There are few players out there that match the overall calibre of Paul Collingwood as a player and what he brings to this England side. For as long as i can remember he has played the role of FireFighter for England to perfection! The lone warrior, the rock, the toughie who never gifted his wicket to the opposition. Arguably the best fielder in the world today and guess what? he just got rid of Hussey with his useful medium pacers....yet its a tragedy that when English Cricket is at the brink of its golden era he is being looked upon as an unwanted passenger....atleast by the press! 34 is too old? C'mon people!! look at Steve Waugh's invincibles and you will find atleast half the side of this age! England should give youngsters a chance but surely it can be done without sacrificing somebody like PC!

    In Indian team today no one can ask Sachin to retire because we value him. I hope England show the same kind of respect to their underrated gem of a player.

  • Benjamin on January 4, 2011, 5:58 GMT

    It's an intersting time for Colly. A supreme fielder and I'd say some of his catches this series have turned matches (to some extent) they've been so good.

    I've never really rated him as a player who would win you a game (ie Adelaide 2006-7) with the bat, but I think as someone who can save one he's hard to go past. Cardiff, and again in South Africa last year he was great.

    It's always good to have a fighter in the side and he's exactly that. God knows the aussies need one right about now.

  • Nadeem on January 4, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    Thanks collingwood for understanding. You are a gem of a player. You are not playing good and i dont think you should be part of this young team any more. Give chance to Eion Morgan and other young players and let Eng move forward into a better future. You can play ODI and T2020 but test cricket is making you less important player.

    You are good in ODI so stick with limted over cricket and you will be fine. Have fun.

  • Dummy4 on January 4, 2011, 0:25 GMT

    I'm an Aussie fan and I think Collingwood should be retained as long as he wants to play. He is a former captain, their best fielder and a useful bowler. He also has a test 200 to his name against one of the best bowling attacks in the history of the game. Batting confidence is down and he should be pushed down the order but not out of the team. Great cricketer, really is the embodiment of the modern English player. Not the best record in the world but is tenacious and gets the most out of their ability.

  • suresh on January 3, 2011, 22:33 GMT

    Most often when one is not scoring runs the tendency is to make changes to the way one would normally play. Its best for Paul to go back to how it was 10 or 12 tests back and enjoy himself. The runs will follow ! Don't think of retirement !

  • Martin on January 3, 2011, 21:25 GMT

    @Biggus - as ever, a Peach Melba of a comment. WOULDN'T IT be great if Collingwood went out with a century at Sydney a la Steve Waugh ! Having said this - I do not want to see him go. I desperately hope he scores runs for England in 2011 and beyond. Few England cricketers are afforded the luxury of picking when they retire (even Vaughan) - but those that do, like Hussain, usually do it in style. Collingwood is that rarest of players; a double ton v Australia! - works so so hard at his game - plays totally for the team and is big enough to know when enough is enough. There has to be a role for him in coaching. Paul Collingwood - Hero of Cardiff 2009 - I salute you!

  • Ashley on January 3, 2011, 20:39 GMT

    Love these types of cricketers. No flash just hard, determined and invariably the saviour when things are tough. Good on you Colly as a Aussie fan I hope to see you round for a while longer. In the tougher contests that lie ahead(namely India and South Africa) England will need you to pull them out of a hole and when that happens I'll be cheering. The game needs more cricketers like Colly instead of hair tinting, earring wearing metrosexuals.

  • John on January 3, 2011, 19:28 GMT

    I think Collingwood has had an amazing career, given that he's not as naturally talented as some of the other players in Test cricket. Over 4000 runs and ten centuries, with an average over 40; occasional useful medium p[ace bowling and fielding which has raised the standard of everyone else, as Jonty Rhodes did for South Africa. I'd be surprised if there is a cricketer more admired and respected in the England dressing room. Unfortunately, as a #5, it's necessary to make a contribution with the bat and he hasn't had the series he wanted in that regard. England might consider moving him to #7, to prop up the tail. @PaulR-C: England does have good young players coming along, like Lyth, Taylor and Stokes. There are also a couple of all-rounders in Rashid and Woakes. However, they are all a year or two away from test cricket. Playing Bresnan as an all-rounder with Swann, Broad, Anderson and Tremlett (giving Finn a chance to mature some more) wouldn't be a bad option.

  • Jem on January 3, 2011, 17:19 GMT

    Why on earth does anybody question Collingwood's place in the side on account of his age?? He is still the best fielder in the side by a margin, taking catches that no-one else is capable of. If he were being hidden down at fine leg as happens to most older club cricketers then you'd have a point but Colly is as fit as anyone in the side so age is TOTALLY irrelevant. By all means question his place in the team because of his batting failures but the fact is that so long as we have a 4 man bowling attack we need Colly to give the 3 quicks a break. I like Morgan but if Colly is to go then I think the way forward is to bring back Broad in his place so we'd have Prior, Bresnan, Broad and Swann at 6, 7, 8 and 9. No-one outstanding there but a good solid lower order to compensate for the loss of a number 6 batsman whilst giving extra bowling options. Meantime, I hope Colly gets a ton tomorrow and carries on...

  • Dummy4 on January 3, 2011, 16:10 GMT

    Please Colly, hold on for some more years...You are not over yet. Still a best fielder in England side. We all know you are a fantastic cricketer and you will definitely bounce back with your batting form.

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