|Durham Representative No.:||40|
|Role:||Right Hand Bat, Right Arm Medium Fast|
A natural athlete with a happy-go-lucky temperament, Paul Collingwood became the first England captain to ever deliver a global tournament when England beat Australia to win the 2010 World Twenty20. It was reward for nine years of uncomplaining professionalism, in which time he fought his way through a melee of seemingly more talented opponents to make himself indispensable in both forms of the game.
Collingwood's greatest asset is ability to contribute to the team in several aspects. As a batsman, he stands still at the crease, plays the ball straight and has a tantalising range of strokes up his sleeve. His bowling verges towards the dibbly-dobbly, but given the right conditions he can be irresistible, as he proved with a matchwinning display of swing bowling in the third one-day game against New Zealand in 2001-02. As a fielder, he is one of the finest in the world, capable of breathtaking moments in the covers and backward point.The final tick in his column is his determination, which made him go to Melbourne in the winter of 2000-01 to play grade cricket when he realised he was treading water.
For the first few years in his international career he seemed destined to be a fill-in player. But at Lahore in the 2005 winter, he stuck 96 and 80 before hitting a brilliant maiden century at Nagpur with England in the middle of an injury crisis. He kicked on to become the rock of England's batting on the subsequent Ashes tour. His brilliant double-century at Adelaide ought to have been the defining moment of his career. Instead it was the preamble to one of the most devastating defeats in English Test history. But after an understandable period of introspection, Collingwood bounced back with back-to-back one-day centuries to secure the CB Series. It was England's first overseas one-day trophy for nine years, and his subsequent appointment to the captaincy in June 2007 was met with unanimous approval. He cemented the role with memorable victories over India at home and Sri Lanka away.
A slump in form in 2008 led to his omission from the Test team and his resignation as ODI captain, but he took back the reins for the ICC World Twenty20 in 2009, a decision that didn't look too prudent when England were embarrassed by the Netherlands in the opening match of the tournament. However, less than a year later England had developed into a ruthless power-packed Twenty20 side. Led by Collingwood, their blend of fearless hitting with dynamite fielding and thoughtful bowling brushed aside all challenges as England won the World Twenty20. They got there in style - beating Australia in the final - with Collingwood finishing with the winning runs.
A difficult summer followed, where Collingwood struggled to come to terms with the seam and swing of Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif. His batting form failed to improve during England's historic Ashes success the winter after but his fielding remained exemplary - setting the benchmark for England's high standards. In the final Ashes Test in Sydney he dismissed Michael Hussey in the first innings, sparking wild celebrations and with England on the verge of a 3-1 triumph he chose to retire from Test cricket, calling time on a Test successful career which many thought would never happen. He had hoped to keep playing limited-overs cricket for England but a poor World Cup followed the Ashes and he was left out of both England's teams in the first series after.