World Cup T20: Tim Bresnan on why Paul Collingwood was key to transforming England fortunes

TIM BRESNAN believes that England’s long and uplifting journey to the brink of becoming double white-ball world champions can be traced back to the time when they won the World Twenty20 under the inspirational captaincy of current England coach Paul Collingwood.

Victory: England captain Paul Collingwood leaps for joy after scoring the winning runs during the ICC World Twenty20 Final match at the Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados. Pictures: Rebecca Naden/PA

Bresnan, the only Yorkshire player in the team that memorably won England’s first ICC global event in the Caribbean in 2010, remembers the “paradigm shift” as Collingwood’s charges threw off the shackles that had previously bound England in T20 cricket.

With Eoin Morgan – who was also part of that XI – having since inspired an attitude shift in 50-over cricket as well, leading to the World Cup triumph of two years ago, England head into their T20 World Cup opener against the holders West Indies in Dubai this afternoon with high hopes of becoming the first side to own both trophies simultaneously.

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“I think that’s most definitely the case, yes,” said Bresnan, as he pondered the roots of England’s white-ball resurgence and linked them in to that glorious success under ex-captain Collingwood.

Champions: England celebrate winning the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 Final match at the Kensington Oval, Bridgetown.

“Obviously, Colly’s still involved now, and Eoin Morgan played in that World Cup as well, and I’m sure he took a lot of his inspiration on how England play their cricket now from back then.

“They’ve obviously got different personnel now – Bairstow, Roy, Jos Buttler up top, Eoin in the middle; slam Moeen Ali into that as well and Stokesy when fit; they pretty much play a very similar way.

“Look down that list and they can definitely win it this time, and as a fan now it’s just brilliant to watch; some of the ball-strikers that England have now, it’s frightening really.”

In contrast to Morgan’s much fancied class of 2021, England were not especially favoured outside of their own dressing room in 2010.

Bresnan recalls a brand of cricket that had become somewhat staid and predictable, and he credits Collingwood with delivering a fundamental change in approach very much in keeping with the modern method favoured by Morgan – and which Morgan in turn adapted from the example shown by former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum.

“We went into that 2010 tournament with a hint of ‘let’s just go out and have a crack and see what happens’,” said Bresnan. “We’d struggled in the past, and we weren’t playing very aggressive cricket, which you needed to do to win the shorter format stuff.

“But we sort of changed the whole mindset – well, Paul Collingwood changed the whole mindset of how we wanted to play – and it really worked for us.

“There was just a fantastic atmosphere around the group and people were really enjoying their cricket because we were playing this really positive brand of cricket, and he just basically allowed us to go out and express ourselves.”

Collingwood and company were ahead of the curve.

Although England did not start the competition particularly well, just squeezing through the group stages, they grew in confidence to the extent that Bresnan – who played a key role with the ball alongside Ryan Sidebottom, who was then at Notts – felt that they could rise to meet any challenge.

“The language that we used was very, very positive,” added Bresnan. “There was literally no negativity whatsoever.

“Colly was like, ‘I don’t care if you get out, and if you think that you can take someone down, take them down.’

“It just gave blokes a lot of freedom to go and express themselves, which is pretty much the blueprint of how England play now.

“There was a paradigm shift really from ‘go hard first six, knock it around for the rest of the time and save wickets for the back end’ to an attitude of being prepared to get bowled out for 120 trying to get 200.”

England’s triumph was built on the runs of Kevin Pietersen, Craig Kieswetter, Eoin Morgan and Michael Lumb.

Bresnan and fellow bowlers Sidebottom, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann and Michael Yardy performed their duties superbly, Bresnan remembering how “everyone knew their role to a tee”, which made practice and preparation so much easier.

After the group stages, England swept aside Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand and Sri Lanka before a seven-wicket win over Australia in the final.

It was a mighty fine England side and a mighty fine time for English cricket too, epitomised by the skills and spirit of the talismanic Bresnan, who finished that year by taking the Ashes-clinching wicket in Melbourne.

“We weren’t flawless in that T20 World Cup,” admitted a man who has just won yet another County Championship title with Warwickshire at the age of 36, and who is loving life down in the Midlands.

“We scraped through the group stages but then we dominated through the Super Eights, beating the likes of New Zealand and South Africa, and I think after that, pretty much, it wouldn’t have mattered who you’d put in front of us.

“We were also quite smart with the gung-ho attitude; it wasn’t just about trying to hit every ball for six; we used the wind very well when we bowled, for example, and were smart with our plans.

“Eventually, we became really, really confident that we were going to pretty much beat anyone on the day, and as soon as Australia beat Pakistan (in the semi-final), we were like, ‘we’ve got this, no worries’.”