Collingwood confident of regaining momentum

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The Independent Online

Paul Collingwood is adamant last night's loss to South Africa 'A' will not halt the momentum England had already gained from the positive start made on their tour to the country.

The all-rounder, in charge of the team this week in the absence of regular captain Andrew Strauss who no longer plays international 20-over cricket, began his brief stint as leader with a four-wicket loss to the Proteas' second-stringers in Bloemfontein.

However, he insists his side will not be affected by the result, which came after a woeful batting display saw them dismissed for 89, and is confident his troops will be ready for the opening Twenty20 encounter against South Africa later this week.

"No, not at all," was his response to a question relating to lost momentum.

"I never like losing, but I think sometimes it is going to be a little bit of a reality check as well.

"We've started so well, we've pretty much done everything perfectly so far in terms of batting and bowling, our fielding's been exceptional.

"Tonight we got one of the disciplines wrong. That's the area we've got to bounce back from and do better on Friday.

"But we've got a lot of togetherness in the side, it's a really great atmosphere and there's a lot of hard work going into it. I guess it's just our decision making in this form of the game that tonight has let us down."

Although England's injury concerns are all minor, the list of affected players is growing with Graeme Swann the latest worry after he left the field with a slight thigh problem.

He joins frontline seamers James Anderson (knee), Graham Onions (back) and Stuart Broad (shoulder) with niggles, but Collingwood was expecting all, except the Nottinghamshire all-rounder, to be fit.

He continued: "I think he (Broad) is going to be doubtful. I mean it's pretty much going to take a miracle if he's going to be fit for the Twenty20s.

"He has been very sore on the shoulder there, but he's progressing well, so hopefully he'll be available for the first one-dayer.

"Jimmy's just a little bit stiff in the right knee, but again he should be fit for Friday and Graham Onions will come back into the reckoning as well.

"He (Swann) came off with a stiff side, but he's spoken to the medical staff and they don't seemed to be too concerned."

Collingwood also called on his players to forget their latest result.

He added: "I'm hoping tonight is just a blip. We've done a lot of good stuff so far on this tour.

"Obviously Twenty20 cricket's a different format of the game - you're a bit more rushed out in the middle.

"We'll obviously come out of this, we'll learn from it, we'll discuss it before Friday and hopefully put on a better performance."