Collingwood in good heart

England all-rounder rediscovers batting touch in time for World Cup

Last Updated: 18/02/11 11:49pm

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Collingwood: scored 65 and claimed three wickets

Collingwood: scored 65 and claimed three wickets

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Paul Collingwood was the most urgent of three England success stories in their final World Cup warm-up fixture, a 67-run victory over Pakistan.

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"Even though it was a warm-up game, I thought it was important I spent some time in the middle and tried to get that confidence going again - and thankfully, it worked out well."
Paul Collingwood Quotes of the week

Stuart Broad took five wickets for the second consecutive match since his return from his abdominal injury, and Kevin Pietersen top-scored as he seeks to establish himself in his new opening role.

But Collingwood's 65 out of 273 all out was the most important factor for England, who need the batting all-rounder to click over the next six weeks on the subcontinent.

Collingwood also took three wickets as Pakistan were bowled out for 206, despite a battling 80 under lights from Younus Khan in Fatullah.

But it was his return to form with the bat which put a smile on his face afterwards as he reflected on a first fifty in any form of cricket for three months.

Frustrating

"On a personal note, it was nice to get some runs," he said.

"It's been quite a frustrating few months for me, not being able to contribute as much as I would have liked.

"Even though it was a warm-up game, I thought it was important I spent some time in the middle and tried to get that confidence going again - and thankfully, it worked out well."

Collingwood admitted he has endured plenty of soul-searching about what might have been amiss with his batting.

"When it goes on for a while, you start to look for all sorts of reasons - technique, everything," he said.

"But in the end, you've just got to keep working, know it's still there and it will eventually come right."

Collingwood is now in good spirits for England's first Group B match against Holland in Nagpur on Tuesday.

"I probably had a little bit of luck early doors; sometimes you need that kind of luck," he added.

"I probably just gave myself a little bit more of a chance to get myself up to 20.

"I guess when I've been taking the risks in the last 10 or so innings, that haven't been coming off, it can be the difference between getting out and going on and making a big contribution."

Amicable

He was also able to report on amicable relations between both teams, meeting for the first time since the spot-fixing controversy which so soured the end of last summer and resulted eventually in five-year bans for three Pakistan players.

"A lot of things have happened since last summer, and I think both teams just wanted to get on with the game today," said Collingwood.

"We've got a big competition ahead of us. It wasn't all about England versus Pakistan; it was about putting in a good performance and trying to win the game.

"I thought we went out and did that very well."

Abdur Rehman became the latest in a long list of slow left-armers to dismiss Pietersen.

But he has no doubts about either the England batsman's prowess, or that of Pakistan's veteran fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar - who conceded more than six an over, for the wicket of England captain Andrew Strauss.

"Pietersen is a great player, and he looked really good," he said.

"Shoaib is our best bowler. He will be important for us in this tournament."

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