Twenty20 boom is 'scary' admits Collingwood

On England's 2006 tour of India Matthew Hoggard was asked whether he would rather win the 2006/07 Ashes or the 2007 World Cup. The fast bowler's reply was unequivocal and immediate. "The Ashes," said Hoggard. On the eve of today's NatWest Twenty20 international against New Zealand in Manchester Paul Collingwood, the England captain, was given a choice of the Ashes or Sir Allen Stanford's £500,000-a-man winner takes all Twenty20 match in Antigua on 1 November.

Few have taken greater pride in wearing the three lions of England than Collingwood but the question was followed by a deafening pause. After weighing up the pros and cons he attempted to answer the question as honestly as possible but in the end he could not decide. In one moment Collingwood highlighted the dilemma facing cricket. What was once clear is now clouded, blurred by the vast sums of money that can be earned for what Kevin Pietersen once called a "silly game".

"It is a difficult one to say," admitted Collingwood. "All my life I have wanted to win the Ashes and I want to regain them again. Whether the spin-offs for winning the Ashes add up to the same amount as you get in a one-off Twenty20, I don't honestly know. In the end you do want to win this one-off game as well. It has a massive incentive.

"The scary thing about the whole situation is that there is not anything on the game. It is not the World Cup, it is not the Ashes. When you are growing up as a kid these are the things you dream about winning. The scary thing here is that all we are playing for is money. None of us have been in this position before so we don't know how people react. We are going into a grey area with it all, the unknown.

"It's exciting because if you win the game you get the money. On the other side it could be quite dangerous because if you lose it could be quite devastating. It is a little uncomfortable but you are not going to turn the money down. There are a lot of positives too because it offers a lot of opportunities."

There are fears too, and Collingwood expressed those honesty too. "For my generation Test cricket was the thing you wanted to play," he said. "We have to make sure the next generation have the incentive to play Test cricket: they may just want to play Twenty20. In the future players will think 'do I want to go away for four months and play an Ashes series or go away and play a one-off game for £10m?' There is no question in what direction they will go.

"Test cricket has got to live. We were all involved with that Ashes series in 2005, it caught everyone's imagination and everyone was watching it. It was compelling. We cannot lose Test cricket. I don't think there is a problem in England but it is worrying around the world – the ICC [International Cricket Council] have to try and make Test cricket as lucrative as Twenty20. The ICC need to nail down where they want cricket to go."

Anyway, an important game of cricket is due to break out this evening. The team prize money for winning may only be £7,000 but Luke Wright, who is set to open the batting for England, and company will be desperate to impress. Collingwood will be hoping the prospect of earning big money in the future does not distract his side or transform them in to a selfish group that place individual needs ahead of the team.

If England are distracted they will get their backsides kicked by a competitive and well-drilled New Zealand side. Stanford's announcement meant that the Black Caps display at Northampton, where they amassed 358 in a 50-over game, slipped under the radar. Brendon McCullum scored 123 and Ross Taylor 75. Were the pair qualified both would be certain of a trip to Antigua later in the year.

England (possible): P Collingwood (c), R Bopara, L Wright, K Pietersen, O Shah, D Mascarenhas, T Ambrose, S Broad, G Swann, R Sidebottom, J Anderson.

New Zealand (possible): D Vettori (c), B McCullum, J How, P Fulton, R Taylor, S Styris, D Flynn, J Oram, K Mills, J Patel, M Gillespie.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones