As the turmoil surrounding England’s ODI side unravels, a final throw of the dice could be to recall England’s most capped player, and former captain, Paul Collingwood.
There are many very valid reasons why this ODI legend deserves one last go. In an era of England being rubbish at ODI cricket, Collingwood was a gem in a sea of mud.
He holds a bucket of English ODI records.
Collingwood played 197 ODIs for England, which is the most by an Englishman in ODIs.
In those 197 ODIs, he scored 5092 runs, which is the most by an Englishman in ODIs.
If this wasn’t enough, he took 108 catches, which is the most by an Englishman in ODIs too.
Infact, he was so good at catching, that 108 is 44 more than the 2nd place. He once took this stunner:
But not only that.
Collingwood also surprisingly holds the best bowling figures by an Englishmen, with 6-31 against Bangladesh.
In total, he took 111 ODI wickets, placing him at number 7 on England’s all time list.
Not bad for a batsman.
Essentially Paul Collingwood would offer experience of the ODI game, useful overs, still sharp fielding, and canny captaincy.
He is no Kevin Pietersen. He won’t strike fear into the opposition, nor will he dominate them. But he will fight.
That is what England lack right now.
Ok, so he has a good record. But he’s old and that was ages ago. What else could he give?
Well, he has pretty good captaincy experience. He was England’s captain during their ONLY ever International limited overs trophy, the World T20.
Infact, he even hit the winning runs.
And then he got to lift the trophy, which is not something many England captains have ever done. Oh go on. No England cricket captain has ever done that.
What’s more, when he captained in those 25 games in ODI cricket, he maintained a batting average of 35.50, which is close to his overall career average of 35.36, so his batting clearly does not affect his ODI captaincy.
As a skipper, Collingwood won 11 out of 25, which is not as good a ratio as Cook; granted.
But, realistically, if Cook was being picked on the merit of his batting right now, he would not get in. Nor, most would hesitate to add, would Cook get into the ODI side on his captaincy.
England are clearly looking for someone to lead them, and score some runs.
If you needed another few reasons, Collingwood has an excellent record down under.
He scored three of his five ODI centuries in the 2006/07 Tri-Series, and averages over 40 down under.
Again, granted, that was a long time ago.
But realistically, Cook has scored one fifty and no centuries in 10 matches against Australia, averages 29.83 in ODIs in 2014, and has scored just two ODI fifties since June 2013.
Recently, Alastair Cook outlined that he thought success at the World Cup was a bit far fetched, yet simultaneously adamantly says he won’t stand down as ODI skipper, saying ‘At this precise moment, I’m still hungry to do it.’
Cook is not in form, and is a drab and uninspiring limited overs captain.
Everything from the non selection of James Tredwell and Gary Ballance, to the structure of the order; having power hitters so low down that they are ineffective, defines Cook as a poor tactician and captain.
He is strong when he can lead from the front with the bat, but his career to date also suggests he struggles to do that, unless a more aggressive player can take off pressure.
England simply cannot turn up at the World Cup with captain Cook, and except anything other than humiliation and an early exit.
So what’s the alternative ?
@JackMendel4 are you kidding me?!! I’m ready!
— Paul Collingwood (@Colly622) September 4, 2014
Although Collingwood is a bit older, probably not as quick between the wickets or as athletic in the field, he offers calm.
He offers something that Cook will never have, and that is desire in ODIs.
Cook is not a natural ODI player. He clearly doesn’t enjoy or excel at it as much as Tests. Collingwood is the opposite.
Collingwood may be a risk, but Cook is a death sentence for World Cup prospects.
If England expect to lose under Cook anyway, then what is there to lose really?