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June 2008
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Collingwood fails to take the White decision

June 26th, 2008 by TWC in England

Cricket forces you to make decisions with little time for considered reflection. Such decisions are guided by instinct, history and, lest we forget, fear. When Mark Benson looked into Paul Collingwood’s eyes with New Zealand’s Grant Elliott prostrate in the middle of the pitch, England’s captain had a decision to make. Should England’s appeal stand? Collingwood’s answer was affirmative.

Perhaps if Collingwood had heard an 1980s interview with snooker player, Jimmy White, he may have come to another decision. After calling a foul on himself and losing the frame, White was commended for his sportsmanship. In reply, Jimmy was having none of it. His inarticulate, unschooled South London drawl revealed a deep appreciation of the psychology of sporting conflict. He told us that the foul would have affected his later play, clouding his mind, blurring his focus – calling the foul had lost him the battle, but won him the war.

In those closing overs, the scoreboard looked healthier for England, but the team’s faces revealed a different story. Sidebottom was ill at ease and distracted by the crowd; other players looked at little shocked as boos rang around the ground; and Colly himself looked five years older in the final five overs. England collectively played poor cricket, culminating in comedy overthrows to lose the match.

Collingwood has apologised to New Zealand for his weak and tactically unwise decision, but he should apologise to his team and his supporters too.

By Gary Naylor

Posted in England | 10 Comments »

10 Responses to “Collingwood fails to take the White decision”

  1.   The Village Cricketer says:

    Our Kiwi brothers seemed to forget - as they were getting high and mighty about the “spirit of cricket” over Grant-Elliott-run-out-gate - the actions of one Brendon McCullum in Christchurch last winter. He chose to run out a guy who went to congratulate his partner on making a century. No-one called Murali back.

  2.   Gary Naylor says:

    The game of cricket is littered with such incidents showing examples of good and bad sportsmanship. None set an precedent for the future. Whilst there may be some hypocrisy in the Kiwis’ initial reaction, I’m sure that their (and everyone else’s) less than perfect record played a part in the mutual apologies.

    The thrust of my argument, however, is different - Colly’s was a poor cricketing decision born of too narrow an outlook.

  3.   D Charlton says:

    Shouldn’t Elliot be given out obstructing the field? Sidebottom would have run him out anyway…

  4.   Metatone says:

    Is this a regular blog, Mr Naylor? If so, congrats, and when’s the next installment.

    I didn’t see what happened in this match, but your assessment sounds spot on to me.

  5.   Gary Naylor says:

    D Charlton - Elliott was getting off the pitch as he is required to do. Nobody can claim that he risked his career running into Sidebottom deliberately surely? And, pace Swann, Sidebottom was as likely to concede four byes as run him out.

    Metatone - There are higher powers than me in that decision! But thanks for the kind words - I hope to be back! I’ll be very interested in your assessment once you see the incident - but it’s really the impact in the next few overs that concerns me here.

  6.   greavsie123 says:

    The wider implications are the most disturbing. Where to for England’s Test team post-Vaughan? Certainly not Collingwood after his rabbit-in-the-headlights impression at The Oval.
    Pietersen in charge will be extremely interesting.

  7.   Gary Naylor says:

    Greavsie - I’m not sure Colly was heir apparent to Vaughan: that slot seems reserved for Strauss. But if KP inspires, what then? He hasn’t looked like captaincy material so far, but Punter didn’t at the same stage of his career. Colly’s stock has fallen and is unlikely to recover.

  8.   zephirine says:

    It’s turning into an annus horribilis for Colly, totally out of form with the bat, nagging injury problems, and now some serious misjudgements while trying too hard to re-establish his reputation through his ODI captaincy, leading to being booed and banned. It’s a shame, because he’s given his all in the past, and in ODIs he’s been badly let down by his batsmen (I believe he’s been the top scorer in this series).
    Good to see you here, Gary, and it’s an excellent point you make with the Jimmy White story.

  9.   Gary Naylor says:

    Thank you Zeph - as gracious as ever.

    I’ve always been reluctant to join the “Colly is a bits and pieces player who got lucky” brigade (though I understand their point), but the cracks are showing. perhaps his biggest misjudgement was not playing for Durham when he had the chance. No doubt he had niggles and a bad shoulder, but if there was one centrally contracted player whom you would expect to play as much cricket as possible to get into form, it would be Colly.

  10.   zephirine says:

    As a Colly supporter I’ve always felt that apart from his cricketing skills (which are better than many people will admit - Vettori reckons he’s England’s best ODI player!), his worth comes from that much-abused term, ‘character’. That’s why recent developments are worrying, if he turns to gamesmanship and cynical ploys he will really devalue himself.

    But let’s see what happens, KP’s remarks have been interesting, there’s obviously a lot of loyalty towards Colly. And yes, maybe some time with his county will be good for him.

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