Collingwood holds firm as England wobble to the finish line
HAIL to the masters of batting er…Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar? Unlikely heroes, the pair rescued the first Ashes test match for England. They fought valiantly against the seething Aussie tide; indeed, they were England’s Canute as they put the breakers on the Aussies’ flow towards victory.
However- and it is a big however – we must be careful not to get carried away with the result of a very unlikely draw. Outplayed with bat, bowl and in the field, England gained the draw due to an outstanding performance from Paul Collingwood.
Much maligned for a lack of batting élan, Collingwood performs with an efficacy that his colleagues would do well to take on board. For the Durham man it’s more a case of performing for the team than putting on an individual show. Take note KP.
Indeed, it was Collingwood who stood up to the Aussie onslaught manfully as his teammates crumbled around him like a rich tea biscuit into a brew.
Credit must go to Panesar and Anderson, but Collingwood takes the plaudits. He batted for 5hrs and 43 minutes, gained a total of 74 runs and saved the match for England.
Collingwood is known among his teammates as Shep, after a former Blue Peter dog. Made in jest the nickname is more than appropriate for Collingwood who is arguably the most dogged cricketer around.
The thing that got me though is how incongruous Collingwood seems in the English line-up. Surrounded by rash teammates, Collingwood is the proverbial ocean of calm. He is the perfect player to have in a crisis: composed, determined and competitive.
All this marks him out as very Australian; indeed, all these qualities were exhibited by the Aussie performance in the first test. Could it be said that characteristics of an Australian nature saved England in Wales?
Maybe that might be a little abstract for you, but it has to be said that if England don’t install a bit of determination – a word used three times by England coach Andy Flower in his post-match interview – into their play in the second test at Lords, then it might fall on Collingwood again to be England’s saviour in this, the most jingoistic of sporting battles.
It is time for England’s other ten players to step up to the plate and follow Collingwood’s performance. To combat Australia’s warriors what we need is eleven gladiators.