DateLine: 20th February 2007
From a one day specialist to a dependable Test cricketer Paul Collingwood has come a long way. He is the teams Mr Reliable as he plays the anchor role to perfection in the middle order. It is true that he got a regular place in the Test team only because the likes of Michael Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff were unavailable through injuries. But full marks to this stouthearted cricketer for making the most of the opportunities so much so that the selectors will now find it hard to drop him. Collingwood has won a regular place entirely on the merits of his performances. It was for long thought he was good enough only for the limited overs game because of his utility qualities and exceptional fielding. He is certainly one of the best in the game making miraculous stops or latching on to half chances. He made his ODI debut against Australia in 2001 and while continuing to be a regular “ he was a member of the World Cup squad in 2003 “ he remained on the fringes of selection for the Test squad. In 2005 however he made an important Test appearance “ against Australia at the Oval “ and his 72-minute ten in the second innings during which he helped Kevin Pietersen add a crucial 60 runs for the sixth wicket justified his inclusion. Determination has always been Collingwoods most notable asset and when during the 2005-06 season he finally got a regular place in the Test team he made the most of it by scoring 96 and 80 against Pakistan at Lahore and improved upon this by hitting a splendid unbeaten 134 against India at Nagpur when England were in the midst of an injury crisis. And in 2006 he climbed up the ladder of success further most notably by scoring 186 against Pakistan at Lords.