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January 27, 2011
Analysis : More questions than answers for England despite win
Report : Trott heroics keep England alive
Players/Officials: Paul Collingwood
Series/Tournaments: England tour of Australia
It was only a run-a-ball 27, but for Paul Collingwood it felt like riches and he hopes the innings at Adelaide will kick-start his search for career-saving form. He has had an awful tour of Australia with the bat, making 83 runs in the Ashes before retiring from Test cricket, and lost his one-day place at the beginning of this series until Kevin Pietersen's groin strain gave him an early return.
When he came back into the line-up at Sydney he was bowled second ball by Xavier Doherty from a delivery that hardly spun, which confirmed the seriousness of his problems. It was his bowling that kept him in the team for the next match and he batted at No.7, but he at least managed to feel the ball on the bat during a vital 56-run stand with Michael Yardy.
The fact England took the batting Powerplay also meant Collingwood had no choice but to try and free himself up rather than dwell on his troubles. "It was a nice situation for me to come in, I had to be positive," he said. "It was just good to get past 20. I hadn't done it for a while. It was a good feeling and obviously contributing with the ball later on. I was happy with my game.
"I'm the first to admit that I haven't been in great form and that's my role in the side," he added. "I'm trying everything possible to get back into good nick. I know from past experience that getting back into a good run of form can be pretty immediate. Maybe after an innings like yesterday when I hit a couple out of the middle of the bat it might just click. I'm really confident it is just around the corner."
There was one moment that reminded people of what Collingwood is capable of when he swung Brett Lee over midwicket for six. The strong bottom hand came in, as it has so often during his career, and Collingwood believes even just one shot can make a huge difference.
"Things like that can click you back into form," he said. "The mental side of the game is huge. David Boon, when he was at Durham back in 1998, he came out with a quote that international cricket is 90% mental and 10% technique and at the time I didn't understand what he meant by it.
"But the more I've played international cricket the more I understand that statement. Confidence is a huge factor, all the things that you take into your batting is very mental. Hopefully there will be less tension going out into the middle next time around and more confidence and that can do me the world of good."
Collingwood's bowling, the main reason he was picked at Adelaide, was also vital to England's 21-run victory as he bowled seven overs for 22 and claimed the wicket of Michael Clarke, who is struggling almost as badly as Collingwood. However, he doesn't want his mixture of medium-pace and cutters to define the closing stages of his international career and is desperate to move himself back up the order to where he has scored most of his 5006 runs.
"Hopefully I can get back into better form and gradually get back up the order. That would be the ideal team," he said. "But whatever way you can contribute to England winning you go out there and do it. I guess I was just happy to be in the side, the way that the form has been going with that bat. I feel as though I can do a fifth bowler role, I have done in the past. I'm just happy to be in the side and contributing well."
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
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