DateLine: 28th April 2009
A natural athlete Paul Collingwood's appointment as England's one-day captain in 2007 was reward for six years of uncomplaining professionalism. However, he last a little over a year in the role before resigning to concentrate on his own game, and following a controversial series against New Zealand. Collingwood first played for England's one-day team in 2001, but four years and numerous tours later, he had played in just three Tests. In his wilderness years, he rose to become one of the finest fielders in the world, capable of breathtaking moments in the covers and backward point. As a batsman, he stands still at the crease, plays the ball straight and has a tantalising range of strokes up his sleeve. In Australia in 2002-03 he started the VB Series as 12th man, but soon confirmed his place in the 2003 World Cup squad with a memorable maiden century.
Despite his late role in the 2005 Ashes he still seemed destined to be a fill-in player. But at Lahore that winter he stuck 96 and 80 before hitting a brilliant maiden century at Nagpur with England in the middle of an injury crisis. If Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick had been available he wouldn't have played: instead 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 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, but the 2008 season was less of a triumph. Back-to-back series defeats against New Zealand were capped by a four-match ban for slow over-rates, and all the while his Test form crumbled. He followed Michael Vaughan's lead by resigning the one-day captaincy to concentrate on his own form.