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WI v Eng 1st ODI: Paul Collingwood has crucial role to play in England fortunes

Former all-rounder's enthusiasm and experience can tilt balance in tourists' favour...

Harmison praises coach Collingwood

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Steve Harmison believes his former team-mate Paul Collingwood could be a match winner for England during their limited-overs tour of West Indies.

Collingwood will be part of Ashley Giles' coaching staff in the Caribbean when England contest three one-day internationals - the first of which you can see from 1pm on Sky Sports 2 on Friday - and a trio of T20 clashes.

The Durham star captained England to the 2010 World T20 crown and Harmison told the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast - which you can hear here - that the 37-year-old's infectious personality and fielding acumen will help his players in the build-up to this year's tournament, in Bangladesh in March.

"I think the ECB have to make a call with Collingwood. It is important for him to know where he stands."

Steve Harmison

However, the ex-England quick has urged the ECB to swiftly decide whether they want to keep Collingwood - who appeared in 197 ODIS for his country - in the set-up on a permanent basis or risk losing his services entirely.

"Paul will add enthusiasm, enjoyment and experience and he will give [England's players] a lot of good tips," said Harmison, who announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in October.

"He will tell them where to position themselves in the field to stop a boundary, save a single or hit the stumps.

"And if his tips can save four to eight runs in a one-dayer by players making the right movement or being in the right position that could make the difference between winning and losing."

Harmison continued: "I think the ECB have to make a call with Collingwood, who has just come back from a successful coaching trip with Scotland, in regards to what they want him to do.

"He could have a decision to make in terms of whether he wants to coach England or carry on playing for Durham, so it is important for him to know where he stands."


Harmison also feels that one-day supremo Giles will be selected to lead England in all formats following the departure of Team Director Andy Flower in the wake of the Ashes whitewash Down Under.

The 34-year-old's fellow pundit, Bob Willis, agrees but feels Giles - whose accolades as a coach including propelling Warwickshire to the County Championship title in 2012 and England to the ICC Champions Trophy final last summer - must cement that position over the next few months.

And the ex-seamer hopes Giles' philosophy in West Indies and at the World T20 is to play an attacking brand of cricket to ensure that England close the gap on the leading limited-overs nations ahead of the 2015 World Cup.

"This is a vital period for Giles," said Willis, who also believes the twirl of newly-called-up Worcestershire man Moeen Ali could prove useful in the Caribbean and Bangladesh.

"If he wants the job across all forms he needs a good show as he is slightly tainted by the events in Australia and England could have a late change of heart [when picking their next permanent coach], though I think there will be window dressing before he is wheeled out."

Willis added: "For the 50-over World Cup in New Zealand and Australia, England have got to come to terms with the powerplay overs at the start of the innings, something they haven't been able to do.

"Other countries, like India, have taken the 50-over game to another level and England have been left behind, but I do feel a little bit sorry for Giles as I don't think that at any stage during his tenure as coach that he has had the strongest side available."

To hear more from Steve and Bob, including their thoughts on Alastair Cook's absence from the tour of the Caribbean, why England's death bowling must improve, and what challenge West Indies will pose, download the podcast in full here or simply click this link.

Watch coverage of the first ODI between West Indies and England on Sky Sports 2 this Friday from 1pm.