Tag: Paul Collingwood (page 1 of 3)

Mop-up of the day – legs and hands

collingwood-nurdle

Our latest Kings of Cricket piece is up on the All Out Cricket website. The subject is Paul Collingwood. Bear with us. We think we’ve made our case.

It’s mostly about his magical magnetic hand, but there’s more to it than that. Consider it a paean to three-dimensionality; an ode to all the qualities that don’t show up in the stats.

Bangladesh have got a leggie

Fast bowlers and mystery spinners – that’s how you win Test matches. But several years ago Bangladesh spotted a gap in the market for a seven-man attack comprising nothing but conventional finger spinners. They’ve been ploughing this furrow for quite some time despite the complete lack of crops.

But maybe things are changing. They’ve got a leggie. Jubair Hossain took 5-96 in the first innings of the third Test against Zimbabwe. It probably doesn’t pay to get too excited being as this is only his fifth first-class match, but at least he gives their attack something different.


Durham do the dishes and then take out the recycling

The final of the domestic 50-over competition is an odd thing. It took place yesterday, in late September – a fortnight after the semi-finals, three weeks after the quarter finals and a month after the main bit of the tournament. You can see why it works that way, but with the days shortening, it feels a bit like it fizzles out rather than building to a climax.

Durham won and for all the talk of modern scoring rates, it was another low-scoring affair. A party can’t always be dancing and laughter. Sometimes, if it’s your party, it’s more about doing an awful lot of laborious housework. Or, if it’s our party, it’s an oud bruin and a high quality motion picture starring Rowdy Roddy Piper. (Has he ever starred in a substandard film? Not to our knowledge.) Not sure what our parties translate to in this analogy. Probably something Duckworth-Lewis affected.

Yesterday, Ben Stokes drew most of the headlines for taking a couple of wickets and making 38 not out, but it’s been Paul Collingwood who’s been the star of Durham’s campaign. He finishes the competition among the top ten run-scorers and the top ten wicket-takers. He scored 427 runs at 53.37 at over a run-a-ball and took 14 wickets at 22.85 at less than four-an-over. We’ll resist the temptation to write another 5,000 words on him, but suffice to say he’s still underrated and always will be.


We wrote about Paul Collingwood

No, like, we REALLY wrote about Paul Collingwood this time. It’s like a proper article for a proper website. You may have read it a couple of days ago, of course. If you did, we apologise, because this is all you’re getting here on King Cricket today.

But why not read it again anyway? Come on, it’s a good one. On Twitter, none other than Paul Collingwood himself said of the piece:

“Very kind words!!”

Two exclamation marks! For once we’re actually happy about that, rather than irritated. If you think that betrays a certain inconsistency in our attitude to punctuation, why don’t you toddle off and score a double hundred in an Ashes Test? Do that and we’ll be perfectly happy for you to use two consecutive exclamation marks, providing you’re also expressing approval for something we’ve written.


Paul Collingwood – an England professional

The days of Gentlemen and Players are long gone, but Paul Collingwood would have been the latter – a man who never lost sight of the fact that it was all about scoring runs; taking wickets and catches; and occasionally missing the ball often enough that your team salvaged a draw.

He was a state school batsman where his contemporaries were generally more privileged or from overseas, so he was our representative in the top six. And maybe it all goes back to that era of Gentlemen and Players, but he was subtly patronised by the public school, brahmin-esque cricket establishment for much of his career. He ‘made the most of his talent’ they said. He didn’t have much style.

Substance

Let’s get something straight: batting is about scoring runs. If you score runs, you are a good batsman; if you don’t score runs, you aren’t a good batsman.

Suggestions that Paul Collingwood ‘got the most out of his talent’ so that he could score more runs than ‘better’ batsmen are spectacularly illogical. Getting the most out of his talent is what made Paul Collingwood a better batsman than all the weak-willed stylists and technically correct teasers who trailed in his wake. Every international cricketer should make the most of their talent. That should be a given.

What is style, anyway?

Why should one stroke be more aesthetically pleasing than another? Is there something inherently beautiful about a textbook cover drive or do we learn to appreciate it because of what we hear from other people? Off-side strokes are invariably considered more stylish than leg-side strokes and this arises from the fact that the amateur Gentlemen of yesteryear played into the off-side having been brought up on true pitches, while the Professionals worked the ball to leg, because it was all about the runs.

Paul Collingwood was all about runs.

In India

It was in Nagpur that we realised that Paul Collingwood brought more than just ‘a bit of ginger’ to the team, as he had once claimed. He scored 400 runs at 57.14 in India, which is better than almost every English batsman who’s ever gone over there. That Nagpur hundred held England together.

In Australia

Forget the 2010-11 series. In 2006, an Aussie paper called him England’s worst ever number four. A lot of people said he was out of his depth. Paul Collingwood promptly scored 206.

Far from being out of his depth, Collingwood showed that he was in fact the complete antithesis of the spineless Pom who crumbles at the first ‘g’day’. It should have been no surprise. When he and Alastair Cook had both scored hundreds against Pakistan earlier in the year, Cook had revealed how Collingwood had kept the score ticking over when he himself couldn’t even get the ball off the square.

Cook was openly admiring Collingwood’s ability when he said that, but memories are short when it comes to Paul Collingwood. Where a poor series for some batsmen would be branded ‘poor form’, Collingwood was more likely to be dismissed with a curt ‘he’s crap’.

The grit

You can’t talk about Colly without talking persistence of motive and effort – grit.

Great bowling? Duff pitch? Impossible match situation? Personal poor form? All water off a duck’s teflon-coated umbrella to Paul Collingwood.

He was in dire form against South Africa in 2006 and about to be dropped. In what had appeared likely to be his last Test innings, he worked his way to 94 not out.

Kevin Pietersen had been dismissed going for the glory hundred when on 94 earlier in the day. Did Collingwood learn from this? Yes, of course he did – he learnt that you should middle it when trying to reach your hundred with a six.

How dour and functional of him.

More obviously gritty were the four-hour 74 at Cardiff in the 2009 Ashes, for which every England fan will be forever grateful, and the even more gloriously lumpen twin innings in South Africa that also led to nine-wickets-down draws. A 99-ball 26 at Centurion and a one-man leaving/missing case study at Newlands that saw 40 runs scored in more than four and a half hours.

Apologies if you think this post is a bit long, but we’ve always wanted to do Paul Collingwood justice because we feel like other people won’t. Frankly, he’s one of our heroes.


A quick pause from the gloating

The site won’t be much fun for Aussies for almost the whole of next week, but we thought we’d break up the gloating with a couple of other pieces.

Remember when we got a bit carried away when Andrew Flintoff retired and wrote not one, but two retirement pieces about him? Well, it’s happened again.

Our first Paul Collingwood retirement post is over at The Wisden Cricketer website and the second will appear here at King Cricket next week. We hope some of you read both these posts, because it would seem that Paul Collingwood embodied something we feel quite strongly about, judging by how bad-tempered we got. Plus, everyone else who has written about him is MASSIVELY WRONG.

Also, if you can find a copy of this month’s issue of The Wisden Cricketer (it’s proving strangely popular for some reason) then we’ve done a review of 2010 that appears in it. We haven’t seen the finished version yet, but we’re pretty sure we remember the piece being fully amazing. If it fails to deliver on that promise, then, er, something was lost in the editing process.

Anyway, Collingwood first.


You’ll miss Paul Collingwood more than you think

We’ll do a proper Paul Collingwood retirement post in a few days. For now, the cricket comes first. Which is as it should be.

Anyone feeling sad that he’s fallen into retirement after diminishing returns with the bat would do well to remember the kind of man he is. He spent years as England’s drinks carrier on tour and when he finally got into the team, it became apparent that he didn’t just pay lip service to the team ethic. He would do his job whether it was batting, bowling, fielding, captaincy or ferrying drinks to and from the middle during breaks in play.

Give Paul Collingwood the choice between retiring with a hundred in a drawn series or going out with barely a run in an away Ashes series win and we’re pretty sure we know which he’d go for.

Take a look at these catches as well. Paul Collingwood is one of England’s all-time greatest cricketers in some regards. He is the player every 10-year-old cricket fan wants to be: Superman with glue hands.


Paul Collingwood goes one better than at Cardiff

Paul Collingwood knocking off for the dayThe Cardiff Ashes Test was a great example of how a draw can be exciting. Today, after playing in the snow, eating a roast dinner and having a couple of pints, we would have been happy with a soporific blockathon, but you get what you’re given.

Paul Collingwood made a huge and often overlooked contribution to that Cardiff draw, but he ballsed up by getting out. This time, he made no such mistake.

If we’d known England were going to be batting for a draw on the last day, the two batsmen we’d have picked to see out the last over would have been Cook and Strauss. But if England had to be nine down, we’d have picked Paul Collingwood and his one inch backlift.

We probably wouldn’t have picked Graham Onions though, but as a number 11 he’s duty-bound to appear in last wicket partnerships. That’s what’s great about cricket: five days of slog all hangs on the person least qualified to deliver.

It’s like building a state of the art spy plane, taking it for a test flight and then getting a pangolin to land it. You want a walking pine cone that secretes acid in its anus? The pangolin’s your man. You want an expert aviator? Look elsewhere.


Paul Collingwood part of a proper England one-day batting line-up

Paul Collingwood has played more one-day internationals than you and your mate Kenny combinedWe were struck that England actually had a good batting line-up today; one with rare solidity.

With Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott opening, England have grown-ups at the top of the order. There’s a dependable feel about both of them and the rest of the line-up hangs off that.

In the middle order, Kevin Pietersen’s ace, Paul Collingwood knows one-day cricket inside-out, while Eoin Morgan‘s potentially England’s best-ever one-day batsman – unfazed and both deft and powerful. Matt Prior’s not done well, but he’s one of the better batsmen in English cricket and we’re happy with him at six. Luke Wright’s the end-of-innings slogger.

It was Collingwood’s day today. He’s hit 617 one-day runs at 51 this year. How many matches until people call for him to be dropped because of his ‘lack of talent’?


Paul Collingwood has to go

Paul Collingwood flukes his way to a double hundredThis is the vibe we’re getting at the minute, but prior to the Ashes, Paul Collingwood averaged 58, 43, 61 and 68 in successive series. Paul Collingwood never gets much slack.

It strikes us that if you say someone’s got no talent often enough, it colours people’s views in itself. Yes, Collingwood had a poor Ashes overall. However, where some players are deemed out of form after a poor series, Collingwood’s dismissed with a short, sharp: ‘He’s crap’.


Paul Collingwood

Relatively elegantIf you’re Paul Collingwood, you have to do a little bit more than other batsmen. He’s hit three hundreds in his last nine Test innings, each in a different country and each against a different attack. People will accept that he can stay in the side for another couple of matches now.

Maybe it’s because he looks ill-acquainted with a cricket bat. It doesn’t move right in his hands. You imagine him opening his kitbag on the first morning of a Test. He looks down at the chunk of willow within and says: ‘What the hell is that?’

We like him that way. We like his awkward punching strokeplay. We like the nurdle, we like the chop and we like the hoist. Every time people say Paul Collingwood has to go because he’s not good enough, he comes back and scores some hundreds and really, that’s all that matters.


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