Prime Minister's XI v England XI, Canberra January 9, 2011

England refocus on limited overs

With the Ashes secured in historic style for another two years England's quest for world domination now turns to the one-day game with the World Cup little over a month away. The players were put through a tough fitness session in Canberra just two days after their Ashes triumph in a clear sign they don't want to let their momentum slip.

The day after winning the Ashes in 2009 the team flew to Belfast where they held on for a one-run victory before losing the one-day series against Australia 6-1. This time they face a Prime Minister's XI in the national capital before two Twenty20s and seven ODIs. Even though conditions in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will be far different to the next four weeks it's a vital period and Paul Collingwood believes motivation won't be an issue.

"We've got a few new players in who give you that extra bit of enthusiasm and spark," he said. "It's up to every single player to get their feet back on the ground, to keep that intensity up that we've been showing in practice and our preparation and hopefully transform that into our performances on the pitch.

"We've got a group of lads who are very focused. We are very happy with what we have achieved so far on this trip, but we also realise that it's not the end of the tour yet. We have a lot of things to do well before this World Cup. We knew it was going to be a huge six months for coming over here and then on to India afterwards and we are not finished yet.

That tournament is England's chance to complete the ultimate triple-whammy to go alongside their Ashes and World Twenty20 success, but the World Cup has often brought out the worst in England. However, the team's success in the Caribbean last year, when they beat Australia in the World Twenty20 final to claim their first global trophy, has instilled a belief that they can compete for the main prize as well.

There is also the small matter of not giving an inch to a struggling Australia over the next few weeks and living up to the tag of world champions. "We've won seven [Twenty20 internationals] on the trot and will set a new record if we make it eight. The guys are very focused and ambitious," said Collingwood, England's Twenty20 captain, who will also lead against the PM's XI while Andrew Strauss rests.

"It's not easy to win that many games on the trot in T20. They are another two huge games for us leading into the Twenty20 World Cup and the guys are looking forward to it. Whatever form of the game it is against Australia we are desperate to win. We've got the momentum and obviously don't want to let Australia back in."

After the Sydney Test defeat Michael Clarke admitted Australia will have to learn from England and Tim Paine, the PM XI's captain and vice-captain of the Twenty20 side, said they had also laid the benchmark in the shortest format.

"They certainly have recently," he said. "They've been playing fantastic cricket. It's also a new era for our Twenty20 side as well and we've certainly got a good side ourselves. We don't want to let them break that world record, then we want to start something similar ourselves. We'll be confident going into the T20 game, but England are the current world champions and it will be a huge game."

For Collingwood this is the beginning of being purely a limited-overs cricketer for England after retiring from Tests. In 14 months there is a chance for him to lead the defence of the Twenty20 crown in Sri Lanka, but his priority is using all his experience to help the World Cup campaign.

"It is a new phase and that's exciting. One of our main goals as a team is to win a World Cup, we haven't done it as a team and we really believe we can achieve something like that," he said. "All of our efforts over the series will be directed towards trying to win it and give us the confidence that will help us to win a World Cup."

England are likely to rest a number of their major players from the Test series who remain with the one-day squad when they take on the PM's XI. Collingwood also hinted there could be some rotation of personnel during the limited-overs matches to keep key names fresh.

"The management will, as each game goes, look at the situation and make decisions on who plays and who needs rest," he said. "Andy Flower has been very good at identifying those times in the past. Whether we need that during the series I'm not too sure, but the guys are very focused on this World Cup coming up."

Possible England team to face PM's XI Michael Lumb, Steven Davies (wk), Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood (capt), Eoin Morgan, Michael Yardy, Luke Wright, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes, Ajmal Shahzad, Steven Finn

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Lalith on January 10, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    "I want to keep playing," Ponting said. "I still believe I am one of the best six batters in Australia. If you are 6th best in Aus right now with average 16.14 in the Ashes, we can imagine 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th batters. GOD BLESS Aussie Cricket !!!

  • Ian on January 10, 2011, 5:09 GMT

    I agree with Jonesy2 The cross your fingers, shut your eyes, swing & hope style of play should be right up the Aussies street. As should bowling 6 different types of delivery in one over. Sadly, the method is absolute toilet in test matches.

  • Sundar on January 10, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    I am delighted to know that English team are playing well after 5 or 6 decades...And am excited to see India thrashing England in WC and within 3 months after WC, we will be touring there to play the series of Cricket so far..but it will be one-sided(India) guys...wait and see..hail India

  • jason on January 9, 2011, 22:09 GMT

    @jonesy2. in what way are England good at limited overs games??? at beating Australia in 20/20 WC finals i guess. hang onto your ODI WC while you can cos there is nothing left... ashes, gone, 20/20 wc...never there. test ranking...sliding and showing no signs of stopping...

  • paul on January 9, 2011, 21:22 GMT

    @jonesy2 You keep living in the past mate and as far as England sucking in limited over,well every time they met Oz in anything over the last year they beat you, ODi series last year, T20 WC final they hammered you, apart from that, they beat SA in one day series in SA as well as Pakistan in ODi and T20 series. May be these Oz players have little bit more perspective than you and can see that this England team has improved tons over the last 18 months.

  • Matt on January 9, 2011, 21:18 GMT

    in the "T20 world champions" kind of way

  • Dominic on January 9, 2011, 20:12 GMT

    jonesy2 - You said the same thing about the test series and how you couldn't understand how Australia lost. Suggest you keep your comments to yourself for a while. The one day series should be a close run thing but there's a possibility that Australia are mentally shot, they showed so little backbone in Melbourne and Sydney.

  • Dummy4 on January 9, 2011, 13:52 GMT

    Well done England, a fantastic effort, keep up the good work because there's a lot of Cricket still to be played and you want to finish in style. All the best to Australia as well in what looks like is going to be a fantastic T20 and One Day Series.

  • Bryn on January 9, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    i cant believe these comments from aus players in what way are england good at limited overs? they suck. australia are the best

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