Tag: Paul Collingwood (page 1 of 3)

You can probably gauge the worth of Paul Collingwood from that time he was an umpire

Paul Collingwood excelled at all those aspects of cricket which are undervalued; all the ones that are hard to measure; stuff like fielding and unearthing singles that have no right to be taken.

Because of this, he was one of our heroes when he retired from international cricket and he’s not exactly dropped in our estimation since then, playing on for Durham through thick and thin and thinner and thinner still. Now he’s retiring completely.

We’ve nothing left to say about Colly’s cricket. We instead want to quickly talk about a photo that has gnawed away at us ever since it was taken back in 2016. There is something about the scene that is so perfect it almost brings us to tears.

After playing a game against Lancashire at Southport and Birkdale CC,  Collingwood’s Durham stayed behind for a bit and played a knockabout game with a tennis ball with a few kids on the outfield. Colly was umpire.

The players had a few beers, the wicket was a chair, the kids got Ben Stokes out and the whole thing took place on the kind of long summer evening you can only ever really get in the UK.

It is, to our eyes, idyllic, and it will have meant THE WORLD to the kids involved. “It was quite difficult to get them to sleep that night,” one of the boys’ dads told the Southport Visiter at the time.

We don’t think it’s a coincidence that Paul Collingwood was involved in this and while we can’t really put what that means into words, in many ways it seems to sum up the man so we’re just going to leave it at that.


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The very obvious way in which England can add variety to their bowling, lengthen their batting and improve their fielding

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Paul Collingwood!

When a bowling attack’s a bit fast-medium, people always hanker after “genuine pace” – but what about genuine medium-pace? That brings variety too.

If Paul Collingwood were to play instead of Jake Ball say, they’d not only benefit from some devastating dibbly dobbly military medium, they could also bat Jonny Bairstow at seven, Moeen Ali at eight and Chris Woakes at nine.

You’re pretty much guaranteed a run-out with Colly as well and as that seems to be the only real way to dismiss Steve Smith, they could probably justify picking him for that alone.

More on the campaign to get Paul Collingwood into England’s Ashes squad here. There’s a petition and everything.

We’ve added a petition to our Collingwood campaign

Photo by Sarah Ansell

You can find a link to it at the bottom of our Campaign to Get Paul Collingwood Into England’s Ashes Squad page.

We’ve mostly just created it because campaigns always have to have petitions nowadays. It’s not like we get a million signatories and then something happens. It’s not a means to an end in any meaningful sense. The ultimate aim here is really just to get a lot of signatories and then we can all sort of sit there agreeing with each other.

At the same time, the more we’ve thought about it, the more it’s occurred to us that The Campaign to Get Paul Collingwood Into England’s Ashes Squad maybe has a little bit more to it than what we initially realised. To some extent it’s also symbolic of our feelings about the nature of modern professional cricket.

Once upon a time – not even that long ago, really – there was a very real chance that a professional cricketer or ex-professional cricketer could legitimately harbour hopes of an out-of-the-blue call-up purely on the basis of their physical proximity to the squad.

A bout of illness, a rash of injuries and the national side would be left making a few calls and knocking on a few doors in a frantic bid to make up the numbers. There’s no chance of that nowadays. Performance or Lions squads lurk nearby. Every eventuality is covered.

Is that what we want from international cricket? Of course we want our national side to be good and effective and to do what it can to win, but we can’t help but feel that something has been lost – something shambolic and amateur, sure, but a certain warmth too.

No-expense spared professionalism leaves us a bit cold and we’d like it if there were still just the remotest possibility that an ageing pro serving as part of the coaching stuff might just get another Test match in an emergency.

So again, here’s the campaign and an invitation to be second on the petition via the link at the bottom.

The campaign to get Paul Collingwood into England’s Ashes squad

Photo by Sarah Ansell

What else does nostalgia prove, if not that everything was better in the past?

Let’s do the who, the what and the why.


Paul Collingwood.

Paul is 41 and hasn’t played Test cricket for England since 2011, so the first thing to say in favour of his selection is that it would be heart-warmingly, life-affirmingly optimistic.


Selection for the Ashes. We want Paul Collingwood in England’s Ashes squad. We want him to play in the Ashes.

It looks like there might be an opening for an all-rounder, but frankly he’s a far better bat than most of the lads they’re taking anyway, so we feel he should be included in the squad as a specialist.

That really is the nub of it: there’s no-one else better.


Collingwood hit three hundreds and averaged 60 in the County Championship this year. James Vince averaged 30 and he’s in the squad.

Also, he’s just ace.

They wouldn’t even need to book another flight as he’s going anyway as part of the coaching staff. His selection would therefore be cost effective.

There is, quite simply, no way that this is a bad idea.

In summary

Paul Collingwood MUST be added to England’s Ashes squad because…

  1. His selection would be heart-warmingly, life-affirmingly optimistic
  2. It would also be cost effective
  3. There’s no-one else better


There’s now a petition. You can sign it here.

Mop-up of the day – legs and hands


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.


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.

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