Paul Collingwood insisted last night that the timing of his resignation as England's one-day captain was unrelated to Michael Vaughan's decision to step down as the Test captain, although he may have spared himself the ignominy of been stripped of the job as the national selectors look for one man to take on both roles.
The 32-year-old Durham all-rounder, who is currently serving a four-match ban from one-day international cricket, was on the verge of losing his place in the Test team until his second-innings 135 at Edgbaston ended a run of low scores and scratchy form
"It is something I had been thinking about for some time and it is pure coincidence that it should be on the same day as Michael," he said. "It was Thursday night, the day before I made the hundred, that I told the wife I thought it was time to go."
Collingwood said that it was his struggle for Test runs – he had made just 43 in six innings this summer before his heroic effort in Birmingham – that had convinced him he should resign.
"I am humbled to have been given the opportunity to captain England's one-day side but I feel the captaincy diminished my ability to perform for England across all forms of the game," he said. "I feel I have more to offer as an England player and will give myself a better chance of doing so by being back in the ranks.
"To play international cricket in all forms of the game is tough enough without the burden of captaincy. I want to play for England as long as I can but I think the mental strains of the one-day captaincy have been affecting other aspects of my game and you can see that in my recent form.
"My form in one-day cricket was not affected so much but I have always had to scrap to be in the Test side and I got to the point where I was not enjoying the game and I never thought it would get to that. The last two or three months have been my hardest as a professional sportsman. I have always loved the game and when that is not there you know something is wrong."
Like Vaughan, Collingwood said that the impact of his struggles on his life away from cricket had been a prime concern. "The last thing I wanted was to come home at night and be a grumpy old bloke," he said. "Whatever you do, you have to enjoy your life. I like to have a smile on my face."
Collingwood became one-day captain for the series against West Indies last year after Vaughan quit to focus on leading the Test side. England lost that series but then beat India at home and Sri Lanka away.
However, England had a poor World Twenty20 and have suffered consecutive series defeats against New Zealand, leaving him with a record as captain of 10 wins from 24 one-day internationals and five wins from 10 Twenty20s. His place in the England side for the Stanford challenge match in November, with its £500,000-per-player prize to the winners, can no longer be guaranteed.
Collingwood's reputation was tainted by controversy against New Zealand when his decision not to withdraw England's appeal for a run out against Grant Elliott, who had been knocked to the ground in a collision with Ryan Sidebottom, was seen as against the spirit of the game. He later confessed it had been an error of judgement.
Following the match he was given a four-game suspension for a slow over rate. He still has three matches to sit out, including the first in the NatWest series against South Africa.
The captain's one-day statistics
*Collingwood's captaincy record:P24 ......... W10 ......... L12 ......... T1 ......... NR1
win percentage 45.65