England must rotate if they are to stay on top of the world game

England cricketer Paul Collingwood at Brigshaw High School Leeds passing his knowledge onto pupils as part of the Yorkshire Bank Howzat campaign.
England cricketer Paul Collingwood at Brigshaw High School Leeds passing his knowledge onto pupils as part of the Yorkshire Bank Howzat campaign.
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PAUL COLLINGWOOD has warned Yorkshire and their county brethren they will have to get used to the controversial rotation policy that has deprived spectators of the chance to see local hero Tim Bresnan in today’s third one-day international at Headingley Carnegie.

The Yorkshire all-rounder is one of three players rested by the England management for the game against West Indies, with the Yorkshire public also denied the opportunity to watch pace bowler Stuart Broad and off-spinner Graeme Swann.

The decision – taken with one eye on the five-match one-day series against Australia that starts a week today, and because England go into today’s final game with an unassailable 2-0 lead – has been criticised by such as Yorkshire chairman Colin Graves, who has pointed out it is hard enough to sell tickets in the current economic climate.

But while sympathising with the counties and the paying public, Collingwood believes rotation is necessary if England are to remain Test No 1 and to achieve the same standard in one-day cricket.

Speaking at Brigshaw High School in Allerton Bywater, Leeds, where he was hosting a coaching session for children in his role as an ambassador for Yorkshire Bank, Collingwood gave his view on one of the game’s major talking points.

“I sympathise with them (the counties), but they’ve got to understand the bigger picture, and the bigger picture is that England is the main priority,” he said. “The counties get money based on how England are doing – not the other way round – and you’ve got to look after that top level to make sure the counties get enough ECB money and all that kind of stuff to exist.

“I’m sure Brezzy wanted to play at his home ground; there’s all that kind of sentimental value, but England will not make decisions based on sentiment.

“I understand why they’re doing this and hopefully in the long run it works out well.”

Pace bowlers Stuart Meaker and Chris Woakes, along with spinner James Tredwell, have been brought in to replace Bresnan, Broad and Swann for a game in which Yorkshire still expect a near-capacity crowd.

Collingwood believes such is England’s strength in depth, rotation need neither undermine them collectively nor devalue cricket.

“It would devalue things if we didn’t have a good, strong squad, but we do have that,” he added. “England can rely on, probably, 17 players who are as good as each other, even if there will always be players such as KP (Kevin Pietersen) who are one-offs.

“I think the back-up players are fantastic and it’s still going to be a very strong side for this match.

“I also know England wouldn’t put out a side if they didn’t think they could win with that side.”

Grumblings also attended England’s decision to rest pace bowler James Anderson for the final Test against West Indies earlier this month.

Anderson was rotated against his wishes after that series, too, had already been won.

“I think because it’s new, and a kind of new culture of doing things, there’s a lot of uproar at the minute,” said Collingwood. “You’re always going to have critics, but you’ve got to understand from a management point of view, and the players have probably got to understand it as well, that the toll international cricket takes out of you is immense – not just physically, but mentally.

“A lot of times, you probably don’t know you are fatigued mentally, and although I’m not saying these particular guys are fatigued, you want to keep people fresh for your major tournaments, your major series.

“South Africa are coming up soon, and that’s one of those Test series where you need everybody as fresh as possible.”

Collingwood believes the biggest problem is the international schedule.

“If the schedules were right, England wouldn’t have to do this kind of stuff, but we all know the schedules are too tough on cricketers,” he added. “When you’re playing three forms of the game, it’s not just the games you’re playing, but in between as well – the intensity of the training, the mental side of preparing for a game, the endless scrutiny, and so on.

“What tends to happen when a player is fatigued, especially a bowler, is that they end up getting injured.

“If you come up against South Africa, and you’ve lost a bowler against the West Indies in a one-day international that doesn’t really mean anything, you’d be kicking yourself.”

Fifteen months after his last England appearance, Collingwood, 36, accepts he has probably been rotated once and for all, but he still harbours hopes of making a comeback.

“I’d love to get back into the one-day side, the Twenty20 side,” he added. “I’m still trying as hard as possible, but I know it’s going to take an absolute miracle to get back in. They’re not looking at my generation; they’re looking at the many youngsters who are coming through: the Jos Buttlers, the Jonny Bairstows, those sort of players.”

Collingwood, who captained England to World Twenty20 glory in 2010, misses tonight’s Twenty20 match between Durham and Yorkshire at Chester-le-Street with a broken right hand.

Azeem Rafiq, the 21-year-old off-spinner, could become the first Asian to lead Yorkshire if captain Andrew Gale fails to recover from a hip injury.

Yorkshire (from): Gale, Jaques, Root, Ballance, Miller, Brophy, Pyrah, Rafiq, Starc, Sidebottom, Ashraf, Rashid, Wardlaw, Lyth.

Paul Collingwood is an ambassador for Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, who are supporting local communities through their Howzat! campaign. For the chance to win £1000 for your cricket club visit Facebook.com/ClydesdaleBankCricket