Paul Collingwood is England’s most capped player, and stands as an example of a man who has squeezed every ounce of talent that he has been blessed with. The jovial former ODI captain took part in a press meet yesterday at Dhaka’s Hotel Sheraton, where he answered questions ranging from England’s chances in the World Cup and the team’s confidence levels following their recent 6-1 reversal against Australia in a one-day series down under.
“Obviously we have come here to win. We have been in good form. Other than the 6-1 loss to Australia in the ODI series, we played some good one-day cricket leading up to that,” Collingwood said about England’s chances in the World Cup. When asked if the drubbing at the hands of their archrivals was demoralising, he replied, “Demoralising is too strong a word. We are disappointed in our defeat against Australia, but hopefully it doesn’t affect our chances during this World Cup.
“It’s a different set of conditions altogether. We’ve played a lot of tough series and won them, in South Africa and at home against the Aussies, so that gives us the belief that we can go on and win this World Cup.”
Collingwood thinks that the team can draw on previous experiences of playing in the subcontinent in order to acclimatise to the conditions here. “We need to adapt, every single player needs to adapt, and I feel we have the skills to play on these pitches. If we do that as a team, all eleven members, then I think we have got a good chance.”
A lot will hinge on what many consider to be England’s trump card, the highest ranked spinner in the world, Graeme Swann. “Yeah, obviously spin will play a big part in the subcontinent, but also the skills of the faster bowlers in bowling cutters comes into play. We’ve got one of the best spinners in world cricket in Graeme Swann, and I am sure he will have a good tournament. But as I said, we can’t depend on just one or two players; all eleven on the field have to perform,” the Durham player said.
Collingwood is also the only English cricket captain to win an ICC trophy, a feat he accomplished when he led England to the World Twenty20 title in the West Indies last year. Asked to compare the two campaigns, he answered, “There are some similarities. We were playing good cricket before that, as we have been this time. As I said, we played and won some tough series which we can use as stepping stones.”