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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
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?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness