Salt of the north
Let us now praise the self-deprecating, gully-patrolling, on-side-favouring, Sunderland-loving England captain. Or not
© Ashish Padlekar
Colly, Shep, the Mackem Nugget. Or plain Paul Collingwood MBE to his mates (and Shane Warne).
In a nutshell
The nation's favourite salt-of-the-earth Wearsider, the pride of Shotley Bridge. The only man ever to score a double-century in a live Ashes Test and still spend the rest of his career expecting the chop.
The nurdle off the pads, (or "nuuuuerdle", as he declared to the camera ahead of every innings of the 2007 World Cup). In fact, just as Ida the fossilised Lemur is the ancestor of every living being on this planet, so Colly's nurdle is the progenitor of every one of his 10,009 first-class runs.
Specialist fielding position
He used to be the greatest gully fielder in the world (probably), but he lowered his standards to become a better-than-average slipsman, because everyone else in the side was utterly useless. Then, at Chester-le-Street last May, he completed his regression by donning a pair of ill-fitting pads and re-emerging as the world's worst wicketkeeper.
Did he really…
Get caught checking out an "inappropriate area" in a Cape Town strip-joint, while captaining England at a major global tournament? Oh, but he did…
Twenty20 captaincy tactics
Spend two weeks sat on the bench at the IPL, absorb the genius of Sehwag, de Villiers and Andrew McDonald. Blow the pay cheque at Hooters, and the lessons learnt in a pitiful display against the Dutch.
Player he'd most like to recall to his Twenty20 team
Steve Harmison - Sunderland are all of a sudden the powerhouse of North-East football, so it would be a shame to waste the opportunity to pay back years of abuse. "Inyafacelike, ye Geordie loser!"
Words he'd least like to see on his epitaph
If he were Prime Minister…
Sunderland would become the capital; London would be abolished. Harmison given new role of foreign-home secretary, concentrating entirely on home. "Nurdle" would be formally introduced into the lexicon for those attending a British citizenship test.
Least likely to…
Drive elegantly and commandingly through cover.
Also unlikely to…
Ever resemble a man in form, even when the man is emphatically in form.
How does he spend his weekends when not playing?
In a darkened room, polishing the prized MBE with his tears of pride.
No. We're struggling to rip it out of such an honourable and self-deprecating nugget of northern toughness. Next time, we'll just let the Dutch do it for us.
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