Collingwood intent on attack
Paul Collingwood is looking to build an England one-day side in his own image after insisting he will not change his combative nature as captain tommorrow night at The Brit Oval.
The Durham all-rounder has built a reputation as a player who relishes a confrontation, either with a ball or bat in his hand or in his willingness to trade insult for insult in a sledging battle.
But after being appointed as England's new one-day captain, Collingwood has no intention of tempering his approach when he begins his reign with two back-to-back Twenty20 internationals against West Indies at the Oval on Thursday.
"What you want out there is 11 leaders and when it gets feisty you want 11 people going at it wanting to be together as a team," stressed Collingwood.
"We will not back off from anything and if a challenge comes along I know we've got the guys out there who can stand up to it and that's a good thing.
"Certainly from my point of view, I don't see any reason why I would want to change as a personality out on the pitch."
Collingwood's confrontational style began from the very start of his one-day international career, when he impressed Australian captain Steve Waugh with his refusal to back down despite his modest early contributions six years ago.
Since then he has blossomed into an integral member of the side and would like England's developing side, which could include debutants Jonathan Trott and Dimitri Mascarenhas in their ranks on Thursday, to adopt similar principles.
"Peter Moores has come in and brought some fresh ideas, but a lot of it comes down to intent, not just in the first 15 or 20 overs but throughout the match," said Collingwood.
"That should come through when we're batting, bowling and fielding. We want to hunt in a pack and all these things can help build us into a good one-day cricket side.
"That word 'intent' is a massive thing for our team in whatever you do. We need to be positive not just individually but as a whole team and that's where the good one-day sides come through.
"It doesn't come down to one or two people in the side, it comes down to all 11 and that's what the best one-day sides do. There has been a lot of good talking, but we have to put that onto the pitch now."
England may field one of their most inexperienced line-ups in recent history during the two Twenty20 matches and three one-day internationals that follow as they begin to build for next year's ICC Champions Trophy in Pakistan and the 2011 World Cup in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Next to Collingwood's 121 appearances, Jimmy Anderson is the next most experienced with 66 caps while there are nine other members of the squad with less than 20 matches under their belt.
But as someone who scored only 18 runs in his first four one-day internationals against Australia and Pakistan back in 2001, Collingwood knows from experience that patience is essential if England's new look side can develop into one capable of challenging in the major tournaments.
"We have some great young guys coming through who can go out there and perform for England," he enthused. "They can learn their trade out in the middle playing against international sides.
"Things are not going to happen overnight. Hopefully they do - that would be fantastic - but we can't expect too much.
"Hopefully the next time we go into a World Cup we'll have that consistency and real belief behind us that we're confident we can go out there and beat the best sides in the world on a consistent basis.
"What it comes down to is that real self-belief that you can do it at the top level and until you play that many games and experience all the different conditions so you can do it in all the different conditions against all different sides and types of bowlers, that's when you know you've made it at international level."
To achieve that England will first have to change a mindset which has frequently regarded one-day cricket as less important than Test cricket - an attitude which has resulted in desperate campaigns in the last four World Cups.
Far too often leading players are given one-day series off to recuperate for Test series ahead and Collingwood insists that approach has to end if England are to be successful at the limited overs format of the game.
"We're trying to get these players to go out there and play the best one-day cricket," he added. "From my point of view I'm looking forward to working with these youngsters and they're looking forward to playing one-day cricket and becoming better one-day players.
"Ultimately that's going to make us a better one-day team and certainly there's no view of just bringing players in to bed them in for the Test arena."
England will leave a decision on their line-up until Thursday after they have checked on Ian Bell's groin problem, which prevented him from taking part in fielding practice.
But Warwickshire team-mate Trott appears to have recovered from the bruised hand he suffered during practice the day before and is available for selection.