Collingwood set for final chance to rule world

Lack of bowling options push England to pick out-of-form batsman in Cup squad

England are beginning to prepare for the future without their most capped player. That future, however, was delayed today with the announcement of the World Cup squad.

Paul Collingwood, who was dropped on Sunday for the first match of the Commonwealth Bank Series, is there as he has been in 189 one-day internationals before. He will go to the Indian subcontinent in four weeks for his third World Cup – his eighth major tournament including the World Twenty20 and the Champions Trophy – and can be expected to play as full a part as he has in the others.

The question of when to let international sportsmen walk into the sunset, or indeed inform them that the sunset has appeared and that they had better make haste for it, is like getting rid of a familiar old pair of slippers – with a human element. Knowing they might not be quite fit for purpose any longer is not the same as being able to do without them.

On Sunday night in Melbourne, the tourists omitted Collingwood because they felt his poor batting form, which has lasted almost the entire trip, left them no choice. But as the team's subsequent performance showed, it left them short of bowling resources. They had only five bowlers up to the job, when any self-respecting limited-overs side needs six or seven in case of conditions, injury, form on the day or myriad other factors.

With Australia's innings being expertly stewarded by Shane Watson, Collingwood became more indispensable as bowler and fielder. England tried Jonathan Trott for an over but could afford no more. It was a risk in team balance that they did not feel able to take again despite Collingwood's loss of form at precisely the point when he most needed to display it. His off-cutters may have a significant role in India and although he has never been in the front rank he has bowled five or more overs in 92 of his one-day appearances.

David Saker, the team's bowling coach, gave his thoughts ahead of the announcement yesterday: "The sixth bowler is extremely important. If Colly isn't doing the job then we have to up-skill Trotty as best we can. He's keen and he's worked hard in the nets to improve his bowling. He is a viable option, but Colly gives you someone really experienced. He has bowled a lot in those conditions and in those games so he understands it really well.

"Trotty has hardly ever done it so that will make it harder, but I'd like to see most of our batsmen roll some balls out and give the captain some extra options. Ian Bell can bowl, so I'd hate the batters to think they're not an option. KP is another option. In an ideal world your No 6 batter would bowl."

All of which made eminent sense. But the World Cup is almost upon England, they have a genuine chance of winning it for the first time and know it, yet equally they have no time to make bowlers of their other batsmen. And so it is Collingwood.

Spare bowlers will have exercised the selectors' minds more than other positions in concluding the composition of the 15. The selection had to be made now because of marketing and programme arrangements for the competition rather than any pressing other need of the International Cricket Council. Both England and Australia, for instance, have six matches to go in their present series and minds may easily have been changed by performances in them, especially with so few places realistically available.

England will be able to call upon three spin bowlers in India with James Tredwell included despite his modest total of only two ODIs. Taking this combination of spinners and seamers has given them the opportunity to take the all-rounder Luke Wright, who would have been unfortunate to be overlooked so late in the piece. Wright, for all his bursting enthusiasm, has not made telling contributions lately in either department of his game.

The selectors were so distrusting of Steve Davies' form as both batsman and wicketkeeper that Matt Prior's one-day career has again been resurrected.

Yesterday Saker said: "[Difficult decisions are] the selectors' problem. There will probably be four, maybe five fast bowlers: it just depends on, do we think we need an extra fast bowler or do we need a spinner or a batter? They could even take two wicketkeepers."

In Australia in the next three weeks, England will be trying to win the Commonwealth Bank Series while also simulating the different bowling style they will need in Asia. They will also bear in mind every step of the way that their two leading bowlers, Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad are at present, resting in one case, injured in the other. Both should be at the World Cup.

"Yes, it's a different game," said Saker. "We have things to put in place, how best to bowl to the opposition, at the end of the day the bowlers themselves have to execute the plans. I'm confident we will have a really good bowling group together.

"They will probably have to take the pace off the ball more. Slower balls didn't play much part in the Ashes, cross-seamers maybe, use our slower ball bouncers quite often. Broad obviously coming back will be a big boost with his ability to bowl fast and slow bouncers. The plans will be quite different because the ball probably won't be swinging around the way it did here and you need to keep the batters second guessing a bit more."

Making the cut: Unlikely trio who made the World Cup squad

Ajmal Shahzad (Yorks)

Age 25

Bowling Right-arm fast

ODIs 5

Debut v Bangladesh 2010

Ave 22.44

Econ rate 4.80

Top score 5

Despite being on the fringes – having only played five ODIs – his inclusion in the tour of Australia indicated he was being considered. England's stand-out seamer in Sunday's defeat by Australia in Melbourne on a similar wicket to those expected on the subcontinent, Shahzad finished with 1 for 51.

Matt Prior (Sussex)

Age 28

Position Wicket-keeper

ODIs 55

Debut v Zimbabwe 2004

Runs 1,066

Average 25.38

Top score 87

Question marks over Steve Davies' batting mean Prior's own indifferent form with the bat this winter have been ignored. Davies was selected for the first ODI at the MCG last Sunday, but despite scoring 42, the selectors appear not to have been adequately impressed and have thus turned to Prior again.

Luke Wright (Sussex)

Age 25

Position All-rounder

ODIs 40

Debut v India 2007

Runs 600

Ave 21.42

Top score 52

Bowling Ave 51.26

Since Andrew Flintoff's retirement, Wright has been touted as a candidate to fill the all-rounder vacancy. He would have been unlucky to be overlooked for the World Cup despite only producing in fits and starts. His enthusiasm and popularity in the squad may have swung it for him.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn