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Collingwood Axed as England's Captain

Wittaya Yensabai 22.05.2011 02:45
Paul Collingwood jumps for joy after guiding England to last year's T20 World Cup during happier times.

Paul Collingwood jumps for joy after guiding England to last year's T20 World Cup during happier times.

Paul Collingwood listened to national selector Geoff Miller explaining the decision that he was to be replaced as England's Twenty20 captain by Stuart Broad, the reasons behind it, the whys, the wherefores and the brave new worlds



Then it was his turn to speak.

"So," he started, "to put it in black and white, I've won the Twenty20 World Cup as captain and I've won eight T20 internationals on the trot (a world record). And you're sacking me? Is that what you're telling me?"

"Four days ago I was upbeat about getting back into training and playing after my knee operation," said Collingwood. "I was full of optimism about trying to regain my form and my place in the one-day side.

"As for the longer term, after retiring from Test cricket in the winter I had my sights set firmly on leading our defence of the Twenty20 World Cup in 2012.

"So when Geoff Miller told me, it was like a juggernaut had come along at full steam and completely wiped me out ... just disbelief."

One of the reasons the news hit him so hard is the suddenness of it. Before taking the call from Miller  asking for a meeting the next morning, Collingwood insists he had no inkling the axe was being sharpened, let alone about to fall.

"I felt a bit uneasy when I took the call," he said. "The problem was, try as I might, I couldn't think what else he would need to see me about. Then again I thought to myself, 'Hang on, I've been captain of a side who've won the World Cup and set a world record. Can they really sack me after that?' All in all, I had a pretty sleepless night.

"While I had prepared myself for the worst, no one can prepare themselves for the words when they come. I had been trying to convince myself that it wasn't going to be the news I feared. But unfortunately it was.

"What was so horrible was that I knew the decision had been made. It was not as if I could ask for a recount. I was devastated, gutted."

The other reasons are all about what having the job actually meant to him and in case anyone has forgotten it is not even a year since Collingwood became the first England captain ever to lift a global cricket trophy in the World T20 final win over Australia.

"That's the frustrating thing about losing the job now," he said. "No one could have been prouder of what we achieved last year than me. But to me the thought of trying to retain the trophy was as much of a goal and a target as winning it in the first place. People might consider T20 cricket as the third rung under Test and ODI cricket, but I put my heart and soul into the job. Being captain of an England cricket side was a massive honour and I put as much effort into it as I would have done for the Test captaincy." said the now former captain.

"I want to make it clear I totally support Stuart Broad as my successor. He has the kind of fast-thinking brain that you need in Twenty20 captaincy. And I understand the thinking that the team moves forward and people only have a certain shelf-life. But even though I understand all that, it doesn't make it any easier to take and it doesn't mean I agree with it. I'm still very disappointed and hurt by what has happened." he added.

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