'I led England to World Cup glory and they gave me the sack'

England all-rounder Paul Collingwood is "devastated and gutted" at losing the Twenty20 captaincy to Stuart Broad despite leading the country to its only world title in the West Indies last year.

Updated: May 08, 2011 14:47 IST
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London: England all-rounder Paul Collingwood is "devastated and gutted" at losing the Twenty20 captaincy to Stuart Broad despite leading the country to its only world title in the West Indies last year.

In the new set-up that saw the ECB announce three captains for each of the three formats early this week, Collingwood was replaced by Broad as the skipper for the T20 side.

"So, to put it in black and white, I've won the Twenty20 World Cup as captain and I've won eight T20 internationals on the trot (a world record). And you're sacking me? Is that what you're telling me?" Collingwood said, questioning the board's decision.

Collingwood was told about the news that he would be replaced as skipper 24 hours in advance by national selector Geoff Miller, and the disappointment is yet to subside.

"Four days ago I was upbeat about getting back into training and playing after my knee operation. I was full of optimism about trying to regain my form and my place in the one-day side."

"As for the longer term, after retiring from Test cricket in the winter I had my sights set firmly on leading our defence of the World Twenty 20 Cup in 2012."

"So when Geoff Miller told me, it was like a juggernaut had come along at full steam and completely wiped me out ... just disbelief," he said.

The 35-year-old said he had no inkling that the axe was about to fall. "I felt a bit uneasy when I took the call (from Miller on Tuesday evening). The problem was, try as I might, I couldn't think what else he would need to see me about. Then again I thought to myself, 'Hang on, I've been captain of a side who've won the World Cup and set a world record. Can they really sack me after that?' All in all, I had a pretty sleepless night," Collingwood said.

"We met at 8.30 and while I had prepared myself for the worst, no one can prepare themselves for the words when they come. I had been trying to convince myself that it wasn't going to be the news I feared. But unfortunately it was."

"What was so horrible was that I knew the decision had been made. It was not as if I could ask for a recount. I was devastated, gutted. We had met so early because I had to get to London to present ITV4's IPL coverage. But once the meeting was over, I had to call the studio and tell them I couldn't go on. I felt bad about letting them down, but I was in a state."

It has not even been a year since Collingwood lifted the elusive trophy for England after their triumph over Australia in Barbados.

"That's the frustrating thing about losing the job now. No one could have been prouder of what we achieved last year than me. But to me the thought of trying to retain the trophy was as much of a goal and a target as winning it in the first place. When you are champions, every-one wants to beat you and I saw that as a great challenge," Collingwood said.

"People might consider T20 cricket as the third rung under Test and ODI cricket, but I put my heart and soul into the job. Being captain of an England cricket side was a massive honour and I put as much effort into it as I would have done for the Test captaincy. To me, it meant as much as captaining the side in any other form of the game because you still want to win just as much," he said.

Collingwood said post his retirement from Test cricket, the desire to retain the World T20 title became stronger.

"After having decided to retire from Test cricket, my desire and motivation to lead England on to the next World T20 grew stronger. It was my passion, my last big ambition in international cricket. It meant a massive amount to me."

"And by not playing Test cricket, I felt I would have the mental freshness to carry on as leader and to prolong my form when it came back and extend my international future." For the happy-go-lucky player, the future is not very clear at the moment.

"Now, while it would be madness to cut things short straightaway, the future is far less clear than it was four days ago. I have some thinking to do."

Collingwood admitted that coach Andy Flower had to make a tough call. "One of Andy Flower's great strengths as coach is that he is prepared to make tough decisions. I sympathise with Geoff Miller because telling people bad news is a hard job. I hear the England MD Hugh Morris made a point of thanking me before the announcement was made at Lord's, which I appreciated," Collingwood was quoted as saying by the 'Daily Mail'.

He also said that he would support new skipper Stuart Broad. "I want to make it clear I totally support Stuart Broad as my successor. He has the kind of fast-thinking brain that you need in Twenty20 captaincy. And I understand the thinking that the team moves forward and people only have a certain shelf-life. "But even though I understand all that, it doesn't make it any easier to take and it doesn't mean I agree with it. I'm still very disappointed and hurt by what has happened."

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