Ashes

Strauss backs Collingwood

2011-01-17 07:59
Andrew Strauss (AP)

Melbourne - England captain Andrew Strauss insists Paul Collingwood is still a vital part of his team's Cricket World Cup plans after he was dropped for Sunday's one-day international against Australia.

Collingwood, for so long a permanent fixture for England in all three forms of the game, was an onlooker as the tourists suffered a six-wicket defeat, despite posting 294, their highest ever total against Australia in Australia.

The 34-year-old retired from Test cricket after struggling with the bat in England's 3-1 Ashes victory.

He captained England in their two subsequent Twenty20 clashes with Australia, but again failed to impress with the bat, and was dropped for Sunday's game.

Strauss said Collingwood was still central to England's thoughts at the World Cup, which starts next month, and that the move was aimed at giving the player a chance to release some of the pressure he has faced all tour.

"It is a bit of a form thing," Strauss said. "We feel that he's been struggling with the bat for a while now.

"The best way for him to come back is to spend a bit of time out of the side and refresh his mind.

"He's still obviously a very important part of our one-day set-up and will be going forward to the World Cup.

"Sometimes you need a clear mind, and you don't want to be thinking too much about the dismissals you've had recently. You just want to be able to go out and see the ball and hit the ball."

Strauss said Sunday's result at the MCG would have no impact on selection of the World Cup squad and that Collingwood, a veteran of 189 one-day internationals, still had plenty to offer in ODIs.

He conceded his side had probably missed Collingwood's canny medium-pacers during Australia's Shane Watson-inspired run chase.

"He is a very handy bowler in most conditions and we did miss that," he said.

"The decision for him to spend some time out of the side was based on his batting and that is his primary role."

Read more on:    ashes  |  andrew strauss  |  paul collingwood
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