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Spare a thought for Collingwood

Oliver Brett | 18:55 UK time, Friday, 11 July 2008

Amid the general bonhomie at Lord's - provided you weren't South African - was a sad sight that many English fans would have forgotten as they supped their umpteenth ale in the taverns of NW8 after the second day's play.

Paul Collingwood, the doughtiest street fighter in the England side, saw his neck inching closer to the chopping-block after making just seven in what could be his only innings of the Test.

With England eager to unleash Andrew Flintoff at Headingley from next Friday, somebody will have to make way.

And the perceived wisdom was, in the lead-up to Lord's, that that somebody would be one of Paul Collingwood or Ian Bell.

Both needed to impress, and while Bell made 199 quite beautiful runs, poor old Collingwood scored rather fewer.


What made the 'Mackem's' dismissal doubly galling for him was that when he was purportedly caught at short leg off Paul Harris, replays conclusively showed he had not hit the ball.

It's been a wretched few weeks for Collingwood. England's one-day captain saw a 1-0 lead in the series over New Zealand turned into a 3-1 defeat.

He was also banned for four matches for his team's slow over-rate and was roundly castigated for the unsporting run-out of Grant Elliott at The Oval.

He is one of the nicest chaps in the dressing-room, and the most reliable returner of text messages you could imagine. But unfortunately that does not guarantee Test selection.

He could cling on, however. Someone might get injured, and it could be that a bowler rather than a batsman makes way when Flintoff returns.

Bell, who scored 124 of his runs during Friday's play, has shown that sometimes pressure brings out the best in players.

It was a similar story for Andrew Strauss in the last Test in New Zealand, and Bell - never playing out of his comfort zone until the shot that brought his eventual dismissal - was terrific.

And though he will never be a Kevin Pietersen-style showman, he showed he too had the ability to play to the galleries when following up a full-blooded square cut for four off Makhaya Ntini with a deliberate edge through the vacant slip for a boundary off the subsequent ball.

Even Stuart Broad, who just gets better with the bat every time we see him, was able to toy with the South Africans at times during the pair's 152-run partnership.

The tourists, whose fast bowlers sent down some horribly wayward stuff in the first hour of the day, never gave up the ghost - and the fielding, with only one or two exceptions, was mostly razor-sharp.

On this wicket, at least, Makhaya Ntini, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel have looked neither frighteningly fast, nor different enough from each other.

Morkel sent down 34 overs, taking 4-121, and was by some distance the best of them.

But Graeme Smith chose not to use him when he most needed to, the first hour of play on Friday being a notable case in point.

With rain and bad light becoming a factor late in the day, Ryan Sidebottom and James Anderson had only 20 deliveries at the South African openers.

Smith almost edged the very first of them to an eager slip cordon, and if he had done the mood in the South African camp would not have been a happy one,

With a decent enough forecast for the rest of the match, England still have time to chisel out a victory.


  • Comment number 1.

    everyone keeps harping on about how the 200 against Oz showed he is a quality player, but what exactly has he done since then in tests? answer: nothing. theres a reason why he was pushed down to 6.

  • Comment number 2.

    have to agree, bell played quite beautifully, and even though colly got a poor decision, i think he has to make way. he has done nothing with the bat all summer, and its time for a break. he will come back stronger, like strauss in nz.

  • Comment number 3.

    I don't think we should judge England's current position until SA finish batting their first innings. England may have scored loads simply because the pitch was docile. We are optimistic about England's chances of winning, but it will be a whole different story should SA succeed in scoring 600-0.

  • Comment number 4.

    "He is one of the nicest chaps in the dressing-room, and the most reliable returner of text messages you could imagine"

    So if Shah or Freddie returned the odd text message they may get call up? He may be a lovely chap Oliver, but he's playing poorly at present. He's offering nothing with either bat or ball. England can't pick a player because he's a nice guy. Drop him and send him back to Durham.

  • Comment number 5.

    adrian007 - I think we can judge England's postion before SA bat. 600 is a good score on any pitch and if SA do indeed end up 600-0 then the match will rightly be a draw. however, if conditions get harder to bat, as I think they will and England remove SA for about 350 England will very much be in the driving seat. I dont think anyone is claiming England are guarenteed a victory. But if the weather stays good it would seem that there is time for England to bowl SA out twice although this is by no means a forgone conclusion. What we can say is, so far, well done England.

  • Comment number 6.

    Collingwood "was roundly castigated for the unsporting run-out of Mark Gillespie at The Oval."

    Getting your facts right is a must in journalism I thought. Obviously I am mistaken

  • Comment number 7.

    Why rush Flintoff back?? In what way(s) is he needed at the moment???? Why put pressure on the current team when Flintoff has an awful lot to prove, at the moment?..

    Let's just celebrate a great first innings. Freddie should't be an automatic choice, until he is fully fit.

    Flintoff was superb during THAT ashes series, but has not really impressed, very often, since. He has to earn his place too!

    Superb effort from England, so far.......

  • Comment number 8.

    Personally, I wouldn't dream of picking Flintoff until the winter and if they are going to pick Flintoff I hope Vaughan gets injured to give the captaincy to Colly and push Broad up to 6 and bat Flintoff 8. Any thoughts?

  • Comment number 9.

    Not hard to spot the Sunderland fan with a comment like "I hope Vaughan gets injured"

    Why anyone would say that is beyond me but so is supporting the mackems.

    Prior and Flintoff for Collingwood and Ambrose next time out.

    freddy @ 6
    prior @ 7
    Broad @ 8

    = stronger batting plus an extra bowler

  • Comment number 10.


    Freddy @ 6.........have you been watching him bat in county, he's been awful recently, just as he has been in tests.

    Yes, Collingwood has been in poor form recently, but he has shown in ODI's that he can really turn it on when retired, when was the last time Freddy hit even a half-decent knock? Maybe bring him in as a bowler....but over Colly, at number 6! you've got to be joking.

  • Comment number 11.

    oops silly mistake there, that should read 'required' not 'retired' lol.

  • Comment number 12.

    Sorry Sir-Benjamin (#9) but I do not agree with Prior. Last year he had a shocking time behind the stumps in Sri Lanka and against India, mainly through dropping catches. Now, call me a traditionalist if you want, but I'm firmly in the camp that says you play your best wicketkeeper. If he can bat, great, but your wicketkeeper is in the team to keep wicket. That means holding everything - catches, byes, the lot. Gilchrist, Sangakkara, McCullum... these players are exceptionally talented with the bat and the gloves, but they are exceptions. We don't have anyone with that talent in this country and thus we must go with our best glovemen. Unfortunately, that person is not prior.

    But I do agree with batting Flintoff at 6 - Collingwood hasn't been able to buy a run all summer, so even if Flintoff doesn't score that many either it is no big loss to the team. But at least there's the potential for Flintoff to take an attack apart quickly and his bowling is tight, accurate and hostile.

    The real question though is this: who makes way for Simon Jones when he makes his come back? (And I am quite convinced, on the basis of his statistics so far this season that he is getting somewhere near his best, that he will be selected to play for England in the not too distant future.) Jones isn't experienced as a new ball bowler, so you can't really replace Jones for Anderson or Sidebottom. But then you can't really go dropping Broad, Panesar or Flintoff (assuming the latter does make it into the team and performs with the ball).

  • Comment number 13.

    I'd rather see Freddie back as a bowler if nothing else....he's still one of England's finest quicks and given the strength of the SA batting, it makes more sense for us to have a 4 pronged pace attack.

    As for the batting element? Freddie may not have been great lately but he can't be any worse than Colly at the moment surely? Anyway, its better to have 2 bowlers who are useful batsmen than an misfiring batsman who couldn't buy a run at the moment.

    They should do the same with Colly as they did with Straussy - send him back to the counties to get his form back, but still pick him for the one dayers...the test arena is not the place to try and get your form back when you're batting poorly.

    And as for Vaughan? The selectors need to start asking themselves how long you can justify the selection of a player just because he is a good captain.

  • Comment number 14.

    Get Collingwood out. If a batsman is scoring runs like a tailender, why on earth is he in the team? He's been given enough chances, how can the selectors keep Collingwood in when he is peforming so poorly and other guys in county cricket are scoring bag fulls of runs.

    I have no idea why Ambrose is in there either. 10 runs in 5 one day international innings is not good enough and now he is dropping catches and not scoring any test runs.

    This should be the team for the 2nd test:

    1. Strauss
    2. Cook
    3. Vaughan (c)
    4. Pietersen
    5. Bell
    6. Flintoff
    7. Prior (wk)
    8. Broad
    9. Sidebottom
    10. Panesar
    11. Anderson

    Broad is better than a number 8 but he seems to be doing well there so I would advise to keep him there.

  • Comment number 15.

    6. Well spotted, and I have made that correction!

    bluebard - For the record, I agree with you. Flintoff has barely recovered from his side-strain injury, and it would be nice to see him come through a couple more Championship matches first.

    lateralis - you are 100% right, of course. the no. 1 requirement for a Test wicket-keeper should be that he is the best wicket-keeper in the country, not a decent batsman who can do a job with the gloves. But who would you go for? A lot are tipping James Foster at the moment.

  • Comment number 16.

    the no. 1 requirement for a Test wicket-keeper should be that he is the best wicket-keeper in the country


    Utter nonsense.

    A heavy scoring batsman who is very competent behind the stumps is better than the worlds best wickie who bats like a rabbit.

    Its all about balance and the role of wk is always overrated by the self-appointed purists and experts.

  • Comment number 17.

    Colly didn't actually fail today - Silly Billy Bowden failed. Awful decision and it is ridiculous for people to suggest that because Billy can't spot the difference between a ball hitting bat/pad, then Collingwood should be dropped from the test team.

    If England now bowl SA out twice with this bowling attack, why on earth would the selectors change anything?

  • Comment number 18.

    Collingwood on his day is a fabulous batsmen. However, in the past 2 years we haven't seen him produce anything with the bat. He needs some championship games under his belt to bulid his confidence back him.

    However, I don't think it is right to throw Freddie straight in at the deep end. He may be bowling well, but an all-rounder is in the team to bat and bowl. Freddie is really struggling to score any runs at the moment. The 64 he scored to win the match at Hove wasn't exactly a great batting performance. His batting weaknesses would be exploited by South Africa's attack.

    To bring Freddie into the team it would have to be in place of a bowler which at the moment I don't think you could justifyably drop any of England's bowlers.

    Barring any injuries stick with the same team. Hope for some better umpiring in the next game Colly.

  • Comment number 19.

    i'm a huge collingwood fan, if only for the fact of his dedication to the team and desire to win. however, he does probably need something of a rest and return to the county game.

    flintoff is probably the answer, if only for added spice to the bowling; but this all depends on if the rest of the order continue in this vein of form. you'd like to presume vaughan, strauss and kp will ton up again, and hopefully cook will get one too - though he has been in poor form for a while, he is a class act, and will probably end up being our highest run scorer by the time he's done. anyway, that is aside from the point.

    the main point is that there should not be a recall of prior as a wicketkeeper. i was against him as a keeper from way before he was called up originally, as he is not a keeper. there is no getting away from that. he is a stopper. ambrose is a keeper, but again he is not in the same class of glovemen as foster and read. foster pips read as a batsman, and for shear asthetics on the eye as a gloveman. yet, neither of those two will ever come into contention again, which is a real shame. ultimately, keep ambrose in ahead of prior, because if will be no good having flintoff back with teflon back behind the stumps. we nearly lost sidebottom due to prior's failings against india and sri lanka, and that would have been a real shame.

    oh, and whoever made the point about mr brett saying that collingwood should be kept in because he is a nice guy; re-read mr brett's article and you'll notice he doesn't actually say that...

  • Comment number 20.

    God this annoys me.
    Its time for yet another round of Paul Collingwood Cliches!

    "Paul Collingwood, the doughtiest street fighter in the England side, saw his neck inching closer to the chopping-block after making just seven in what could be his only innings of the Test."

    "He is one of the nicest chaps in the dressing-room, and the most reliable returner of text messages you could imagine"

    Add this rubbish to the usual sky tv calling him "a fighter, gritty, nitty, nurdler, mentally tough, determined" all the rest of it...

    Wake up will you, the guy is so out of form,
    does he look like an England batsman at the moment. No! Who gives a toss about his personality or his character, hes not scoring any bleeding runs!

    Drop him, pick Fred, please

  • Comment number 21.

    PC has aleways played tests at the limit of his skills envelope. Time to say thanks and adios to a great servant of England.
    Bell is safe or another twelve months. Let's hope he continues to produce. History suggests he won't until his palce is called into doubt aagin. Always a passenger, never the conductor.

  • Comment number 22.

    I am getting sick of all the let's-call-up-Flintoff comments. The guy is legend, but have you seen his stats in county cricket this season? They're not great, and that's me being polite. He's really not ready yet. If he can't cut it against the county players yet then why would you consider that he's ready to cut it at test level just yet? Let him prove himself first at county level, and let him prove it for himself.

    The man who HAS proven he is ready to make a comeback at test level is Simon Jones. Look at his stats this season. Physically, psychologically and statistically, Simon Jones should be way ahead of Flintoff in the pecking order of who's really ready to re-enter the test arena.

  • Comment number 23.

    Shah in for Collingwood. Everybody likes him and I'm sure he will be back but his form has been appalling for a long, long time. So many ducks and let downs - he can't do any more to deserve the axe... any self-respecting team would give him the heave-ho.

    Stability is OK but come on Moores! Make a strong decision!

  • Comment number 24.

    I will not spare a though for mediocrity. No time!

  • Comment number 25.

    After tomorrow's bowling it will be obvious who should be dropped - and it will not be much maligned Collie. Look for Jimmy to spray the ball all over the field - anywhere except on target. Only question should be whether Flintoff should replace him or Jones. My 11:
    1. Strauss
    2. Cook
    3. Vaughan (c)
    4. Pietersen
    5. Bell
    6. Collingwood
    7. Prior (wk)
    8. Broad
    9. Sidebottom
    10. Jones
    11. Panesar

    Now thats a great batting line-up and not too shabby for bowling. Vaughan does have to deliver sometime though...

  • Comment number 26.

    Team for next test:

    B M-J
    'Bing-bong' Bell

    Further remarks on your post:

    'Pressure brought the best in Bell' - no it did not. The South African bowling - and their portly captain- conspicuously failed to exert pressure on any of the England batsmen.

  • Comment number 27.

    Three days left with at least half a day likely to be lost to rain and bad umpiring (sorry, bad lightmeans having to bowl S Af out twice within 200 overs. The pitch itself is good, the England bowling average, so unless the batting is calamitous I do not foresee an England victory. Alas, poor Bretty...

  • Comment number 28.

    Flintoff now we must admit is a great number 7; unfortunately he is not a test march number 6.
    Freddy must show he is a better bowler bowler than Jimmy A (great at times but far too inconsistent.)

    I personally would have prior at number 6 (ambrose has been worked out, don't bowl wide outside off stump and he doesn't know where to score!).

    I would have Freddie at 7 if you're not going to have Prior, then Foster at 8, with the bowlers at 9 onwards. I do feel we need one guy who can rough up the opposition with 90+ mph bowling and then some good accurate stuff to follow.

  • Comment number 29.

    why does eany one want concrete feet concrete gloves bucket mouth back in the team.i am sure sidebottom would be the first to object to such a move (prior) and why is there a rush to bring back flintoff i would bring back jones before flintoff.

  • Comment number 30.

    which idiots keep pickign Prior to come back? as a specialist bat, i have no problems with it, but as a keeper? c'mon, the man made GoJo look good, thats how bad he was.

  • Comment number 31.

    Paul Nixon.

    I only saw him in the commonwealth bank tri-series down here in aus, but he looked solid with the bat (certainly no worse than Ambrose) and didn't make a mistake behind the stumps. Why doesn't he come into contention.

    Simon Jones and Freddie Flintoff are both as good as anderson and are about ten times as consistant. You drop Anderson for one of them.

    Collingwood is still a problem. He is well out of form and it doesnt matter how nice he is he needs to go. He shouldnt be replaced with a bowler, but with an in-form batsman. Im dont know who this should be but someone needs to come in.

  • Comment number 32.

    Let's not worry about the future and what happens if and when Flintoff comes back in the next test. Let's just enjoy the sweet moment of having humiliated South Africa , against all expectations in the first two days of the Lords test. Of course this may all turn round in the next couple of days as this is a pretty friendly wicket, but having to think about scoring nearly 400 runs just to avoid the follow-on puts SA at a big psychological disadvantage.

    The batsmen have done a superb job, something that I wondered if they ever would. Now it is up to the bowlers to continue doing what they have most of the summer. Panessar might play a really big part, even in SA's first innings.

    For the moment, just let's congratulate Bell, Pietersen, Broad, Cook and Strauss for doing their job, the first few of them quite beyond the bounds of their duty.

    The idea of Broad evolving to be a genuine all-rounder becomes more realistic all the time. He really is an accomplished batsman and has been quite consistent with the willow. More good news.

  • Comment number 33.

    I'd wait and see how this test pans out. Freddie hasn't played too much cricket, or got masses of runs/wickets with Lancashire.

    Effectively we might delude ourselves the Freddie brand is bigger than the current form for the player. I thought one had to prove ones form with runs and wicket hauls.
    Freddie can we a flash in the pan with the bat, and we don't know how well he's moving his less than nibble feet against the quicks or spinners.

    At the moment (last match/series) Broad is a better performing allrounder than Freddie.
    If England need a batter, then Shah; a bowler, then Hoggard on his home track.

    For me Freddie needs to perform with Bat and Ball (wickets and runs) and be 100% fit before coming back. Being Freddie isn't an automatic passport for a team place!

  • Comment number 34.

    Over a period of Tests you take the rough with the smooth, good luck and the bad, good decisions and bad ones. Had Collingwood played the ball more convincingly then there wouldn't have been scope to give him out, problem is poor form can often just lead to worse form and everything that can go wrong does go wrong.

    Does he complain when edges go streakily for four? Does he complain when a miscue or poorly played shot nearly goes to hand? No. His score of seven isn't a one-off bad innings, it is the latest in a run of poor scores and if he cuts out the bad shots then he won't be needing to call on sympathy when given out by a bad decision

    Collingwood Form

    05/03/08-11/07/08 : 11 inns, 283 runs @ 28.30 (HS 66)

    Since last 100 : 24 inns, 650 runs @ 30.95 (HS 66)

    In 9 Test splits (excluding this Test)

    01-09 : 624 runs @ 41.60 (HS 134no, 1x100)
    10-18 : 748 runs @ 49.87 (HS 206, 2x100)
    19-27 : 644 runs @ 40.25 (HS 128, 2x100)
    28-36 : 441 runs @ 31.50 (HS 66, 0x100)

    His batting has been on the decline for some time, those last two hundreds were both against the West Indies. Split his career into half with the end of the last Ashes as the split point and it makes interesting reading :

    03/04-06/07 : 1460 runs @ 42.94
    2007-2008 : 1004 runs @ 37.19

    Despite playing ten Tests against New Zealand and West Indies in that last spell he still averages under 40. In fact the sub-split of that into those sides and the rest is interesting

    WIN/NZE (07-08) : 635 runs @ 42.33
    Rest (07-08) : 369 runs @ 30.75

    So are we to rattle up a list of innings by innings excusery? I can't "spare a thought" for a player who was lucky to get a reprieve having scored just 32 runs last series. If Flintoff had been deemed fit enough then it could well have been his "unlucky seven" and out we're discussing

  • Comment number 35.

    Calls to drop Collingwood should be resisted. OK, he's out of form, but I still feel that dropping one of out top 6 for Flintoff would weaken the batting and therefore the side. This could be critical if more bowler friendly conditions are encountered and the South African quicks work out how to bowl in English conditions.

    I've been following test cricket for 30 years and I can't think of another England player who has scored a double century against the best side in test cricket on their own patch. (Be that Australia or West Indies in their pomp.) What's more, Ricky Ponting has gone on record as saying that Collingwood adds steel to England's batting. Surely RP's opinion counts for something!

    Before this match, I would have said, if a batsman had to make way, it should be Ian Bell. This was because I was utterly frustrated by the way he repeatedly got himself out after getting a start and only scored runs when the pressure was off. I was beginning to wonder whether he really had the temperament to succeed at the top level. Obviously, those doubts have now been laid firmly to rest and Bell's place in the side is now secure.

    But I still say stick with Collingwood. He's our nugget who does the job that Graham Thorpe once did and digs us out of 58-4 type holes. And I'll never forget the 10 he scored against Australia at the Oval, one of the most important innings of that summer.

    Before making changes, you have to be certain that they will strengthen the side, by looking at what each individual player offers. Flintoff is not suited to batting at 6, but could be a natural counter attacking number 7. Also don't forget that England appear to have made a policy decision to play with 4 frontline bowlers. In which case, as Flintoff is essentially a bowling all rounder, another bowler should make way. Furthermore, Collingwood supplements this attack as the fifth bowler with his canny seamers.

    At the start of this series, I would have suggested that Stuart Broad should make way as Flintoff offers more with both bat and ball. That is probably still the case, but the young lad is improving so rapidly that with each match it is becoming a tougher and tougher call. So perhaps you have to start looking at Jimmy Anderson. If pushed I'd probably say that Broad's bowling is not yet good enough to make him a better option than Flintoff in a four man attack, and if Flintoff is not fit enough to play in a four man attack, he should not be considered for selection.

    Whichever way you look at it, it's a very tough call, but I say Broad for Flintoff.

  • Comment number 36.

    35. On the basis of your argument no-one should ever be dropped on basis of a run of bad form. Cooly hasn' performed with the bat for ages now. Broad is consistantly out pperforming colly as a batsman.

    The drop to four bowllers was forced o England by the injury of FLintoff, not a posotive policy decision but one born out of nessesity. Go with 5, bowl them out quicker and youll need less runs.

    based on current forkm Collys not a test 6 but Broad may develop into one. heres an idea, use the 6 slot to get Flintoff back in, on the basis that if needs be Broad can step up to the plate if frddie and the keeper do fail. Freddie even when he's not taking them himself gets wickets fo a team, both through his reputation and his ability (reports are he's as hostile a prospect as ever) meaning batsmen arre unwilling to play shots at him if there someonhe percieved to be easier at the other end, who they then take extra risks against.

  • Comment number 37.

    If Collingwood is dropped it should be for a specialist batsman (Shah) not a bowler who bats a bit (Flintoff).

  • Comment number 38.

    Talk of leaving out the captain is crazy - he is our leader, our strategy master, our talisman. Look what happens when Colly takes over in the ODi's?
    Although there's no point in changing the team for the sake of it, it is important to try to improve its effectiveness. There are no prizes for naming an unchanged side for months on end, but plenty of prizes for improving it.
    Flintoff must return ASAP as he gives our bowling penetration which we lack at times when the ball is not swinging. Vaughan would also love to have a fully fit Simon Jones back in his attack. He does something that the others do not - takes loads of wickets with the 'old' ball. Hoggard can only play when Sidebottom does not and Harmison, although bowling much better, must be forgotten. I also think that Prior or Foster should keep wicket. For me - Strauss, Cook, Vaughan, Pieterson, Bell, Flintoff, Prior, Broad, Sidebottom, Panesar, Anderson or Simon Jones

  • Comment number 39.

    mike edwards, I don't think Prior should be considered until his wicket-keeping has improved immeasurably. Otherwise, that's not a bad team, although I think you will find Broad batting ahead of Flintoff one day.

  • Comment number 40.

    Oliver - I think the incusion of Flintoff as a strike bowler allows us the luxury of taking a risk with Prior. He should, of course, be given the office to play an aggressive game - in the fashion of Adam 'change a game in half an hour' Ghilchrist. For that reason, you might even consider Mustard? However, if we persevere with Collingwood, we may need Alec Stewart back for solidity in the batting. In short, Flintoff cannot possibly offer less than Colly at No 6 on current form - and he offers 90mph spells of quality short of a length fast bowling. No brainer. Collingwood needs a break. He showed us this by way of his unbalanced decision making in the ODi's. We both know that Foster is the purist's choice for keeper. We also know that, under Moores', that is unlikely to happen.
    Unless...we could start a campaign?!

  • Comment number 41.

    Well I will say this, Mike - the fact that Foster was not one of three 'keepers in the preliminary ICC Champions Trophy squad, when Danish Kaneria says he could be in a World XI speaks volumes about the selectors' opinions on the matter

  • Comment number 42.

    Precisely. Such a shame - fantastic gloveman. Ask Alan Knott. Why don't the seamers bowl around the wicket to Prince. They only have to drift one away a touch to bring the slips into play?

  • Comment number 43.

    Why the obsession with Freddie..still has to prove his fitness (nearly there) and his form, especially batting!

    If we need a bowler through injury Jones is the man!

    Broad should bat higher than 7..he is still learning and doesn't need the extra pressure.

    Gloves should go to Read, batting has improved and excellent behind the stumps.

    Colly produced one excellent shot looking in touch in his curtailed innings. If we win we shouldn't change a winning side.

  • Comment number 44.

    If it is, as it seems to be about to be, surely one NEVER changes a winning team (except for injury).

  • Comment number 45.


    Broad and Jones both offer runs down to number 9. Flintoff has batter well at number 6 before, he can't do much worse than Colly. I think Read deserves another chance.

  • Comment number 46.

    James Foster was possibly picked for england too early in his career,but he has now matured very nicely indeed, not only behind the stumps but as a batsman . He is able to both bat to save a match and embark on a run chase to win one. His running between the wickets especially with Ten descoete,is quite fantastic turning ones into twos and twos into threes on a regular basis. Yes lets start a campaign to bring Foster back. Can we try to "adopt" Danish Kaneria whilst we are about it.

  • Comment number 47.

    I know you can't live in the past, but remember September 12th 2005 at the Oval? Collingwood didn't score many runs there either, but he stood with the fielders breathing down his neck for what seemed like decades, never mind hours, as the crowd turned from worried onlookers to audacious party animals. He stood and prodded and poked at the ball as the result we needed became more and more like reality with every passing minute. What did Bell do that day? Quack quack... Big games need big performances by big players in any sport, maybe more so with cricket as all test matches are massive occasions.

    I'd stick with Colly any day.

    However, I may not be in the best position to speak, as my only attempt at actually play cricket was in the annual inter village pub cup (six pints min before batting.) I was, sadly, caught in the slips by a fourteen year old girl for one run. .

  • Comment number 48.

    Just been listening to Sir Geoffrey 'dropping' Collingwood in favour of Flintoff, saying 'he's got to go back to Durham and get some runs.'

    I know you're getting old Geoffrey, bit even you can't have forgotten that Collingwood wasn't actually out in the first innings. Who knows how many he might have scored but for some dozy umpiring?

    Furthermore, without his inestimable contributions to England's cause when they frequently got themselves into trouble during the last four years, England's results would be looking pretty bleak.

    As for dumping him in favour of Flintoff, would you want Freddie batting for your life? I wouldn't. Unless the bowling is friendly, he is worse than ordinary. Look at your tapes of Freddie and see the worst defensive block since Bob Willis. He is not a natural defender of his wicket and doesn't have enough concentration to hold out more than two decent balls in an over.

    As for his bowling, would you trust him to come back for 6-8 over spells time after time for three and a half days the way Sidey, Anders and Broad have done on an unforgiving track? No way.


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