England care about One-dayers: Collingwood

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Chester-Le-Street, England:Paul Collingwood has insisted England's One-day international form is a concern to the side as they try to arrest their slump in the shorter version of the game at the all-rounder's Durham home ground here.

England are currently 2-0 down in the NatWest Series against Sri Lanka, meaning they must win at the Riverside this weekend if they are to keep the five-match contest alive.

Convincing defeats at Lord's and The Oval have come as part of a poor run of One-day results with England losing 12 out of their last 16 limited overs internationals.

Many within English cricket still regard Test matches as the ultimate prize with One-dayers, while financially important, lagging behind in prestige even with next year's World Cup in the Caribbean on the horizon.

"It's frustrating because as players you do prepare in exactly the same way as you do for Test cricket," the 30-year-old told reporters at the Riverside here Friday.

"When you hear people thinking you are not preparing as well because it's 'only' a One-day international well, you are going out there wearing the three lions on your shirt and it means a lot to a lot of people.

"So when people say 'you are not bothered about One-day cricket, it hurts. We are trying our hardest, that's all you can do."

England are without several key players because of injury including captain Michael Vaughan (knee), Andrew Flintoff (ankle), Ashley Giles (hip) and James Anderson (back).

But Sri Lanka too have had their fair share of injury problems, with regular skipper Marvan Atapattu missing the whole tour of England with a back problem and off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, leaving the country Friday to be with his ill son.

However, Collingwood said a largely inexperienced England side couldn't afford to feel sorry for themselves.

"If you start thinking you're going to get beaten because we're missing these guys you're going to go nowhere.

"We're confident enough to turn it around and we've got players in that dressing room who have got good characters who also have very good skills as well."

Collingwood said he had sympathy for fledgling internationals such as pace bowlers Sajid Mahmood and Liam Plunkett as they began their England One-day careers.

"To play One-day international cricket can sometimes be as hard as playing Test cricket.

"You're trying to score at a run a ball and as soon as you go out there you're under pressure. And then you've got players like Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardene coming at you.

"These guys we have will bounce back. It's up to the experienced players to pull them along because they've got talent."

Worcestershire seamer Kabir Ali, brought into the squad to replace the injured Glen Chapple, could replace Mahmood who in Tuesday's 46-run defeat at The Oval saw his seven overs go for a hugely-expensive 80 runs.

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