Cited as the heir to the legendary Jonty Rhodes, Paul Collingwood embodies superior work-ethic, batting tenacity, mesmerizing fielding ability, and most importantly, a sense of enjoyment.
It took a while before Collingwood showed sparks of promise. Following his ODI debut against Pakistan in 2001, Collingwood’s first five outings averaged a mere 11.2. Selector- persistence eventually paid off when he notched 3 half-centuries in his next five innings. Combination of selective stroke-play and an ability to rotate strike to keep the scoreboard ticking often saw him play the sheet anchor role. His elusive Test debut came during the end of 2003 - after extended stints as England’s 12th man owing to his fielding ability - replacing flu-afflicted skipper Nasser Hussain in Galle during England’s trip to Sri Lanka. Although he scored a mere 37 in two innings with the bat, his fielding caught the eye once again when he held a total of 5 catches and caused a run-out. By 2005, Collingwood was an ODI regular and went on to become England’s most successful batsman by becoming the first-ever Englishman to cross the 5000-run mark; also their highest run-getter for a long, long time.
During the Ashes later that year, he replaced the injured Simon Jones in the final Test. He bowled some vital overs for a draw, resulting in a historic triumph for England against their old foes. More opportunities came, that Collingwood grabbed, the highlight being a 206 against Australia in Adelaide. His performances aided sub-continent success and in 2007 the same year, he became Michael Vaughan’s ODI successor. Despite mixed results, in 2008, he relinquished captaincy citing inability to enjoy the game as the reason. Still, his Test form kept improving, reflecting in England’s 2009 Ashes retention. That year, Collingwood replaced Alec Stewart as England’s most-capped ODI player.
In 2010, skipper “Colly” led the England side to their first-ever global success in the ICC World Twenty20, hitting the winning boundary against Australia. The Test retirement came on a high note, as England regained the 2010-11 Ashes and Collingwood bid adieu with pride. Eventually, the T20I captaincy was taken over by team-mate Stuart Broad.
Despite his sudden exit from the international arena, especially ODIs and T20Is, Collingwood continued to ply his trade for his domestic county, Durham. In 2011, the veteran was signed up by the Perth Scorchers for the inaugural Big Bash League.