It seems somehow preposterous that England’s most capped one-day cricketer, their only captain to lift a major limited-overs trophy, the 2010 World T20, should be plotting their World Cup downfall. But that is precisely Paul Collingwood’s intention this evening.
As specialist coach to Scotland, he is bringing his experience of 197 one-day internationals to the cause of the underdog. In the light of events in Melbourne and Wellington, the status of underdog is not quite what it was, as Collingwood is aware. “There is genuine belief in the camp that our first win is just round the corner,” he said yesterday. “If we keep teams under pressure and keep playing the brand of cricket we have in the last year with the skill levels, that win isn’t too far away.”
Still captain of Durham, an assistant coach to England only last spring, he knows Eoin Morgan’s players as well as their coaching staff. It is probably true that with England so vulnerable at present, it could help him to produce crucial advice.
“There is a lot of information I know about the boys technically but this Scotland team are good at adjusting to conditions, going out there and working things out for themselves,” Collingwood said.
“We know the opposition well but you have to go out there and play 100 overs and find a way to put them under pressure from your strengths. If we stick to that, hopefully that will be enough.”
Scotland have more international playing pedigree in their coaching staff than England. Complementing Collingwood’s experience are the 11 New Zealand appearances of head coach Grant Bradburn and the 20 ODIs for Scotland of the bowling coach, Craig Wright. England can muster a total of 18, all for batting adviser Mark Ramprakash.
England have won both of the countries’ two previous ODIs, the most recent being in May, which was slightly tricky. England ought to win a match which starts at 10pm tonight but Collingwood senses weaknesses.
He wrote yesterday in his regular column on the ICC website after England’s crushing defeat by New Zealand: “It just proved the gulf between the two sides and you’re not talking about a major difference in the skill levels, it’s just about approaches and tactics. The approach of England’s batsmen was pretty conservative and almost like a Test match.”
Had England chosen a different coach when Peter Moores was reappointed, Collingwood might have been part of their backroom team by now. He was with them in the World Twenty20 last year, when defeat by the Netherlands effectively deprived Ashley Giles of the job. Collingwood will have no divided loyalty now.
“When I hear the anthem, it is going to be slightly odd but once we get into the game I will be 100 per cent behind Scotland getting their first win in the World Cup,” he said. He may do it too.Reuse content