Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Collingwood plays down injury list

Paul Collingwood has played down England's growing injury list ahead of the first Twenty20 international on Friday following the side's four-wicket defeat against South Africa A in Bloemfontein.

England went into the match without their three frontline quicks with James Anderson (knee), Stuart Broad (shoulder) and Graham Onions (back) all on the sidelines. With Andrew Strauss not considered for the Twenty20 team it left Collingwood only 11 fit players and towards the end of the game Graeme Swann also left the field with a tight thigh.

However, Swann's problem was said to be minor and the medical staff were not overly concerned, while Anderson and Onions are expected to be in contention to face South Africa at the Wanderers. Broad, though, is struggling to recover in time for the Twenty20 matches and is unlikely to be risked before the one-day series begins at the end of next week.

"I think he [Broad] is going to be doubtful. I mean it's pretty much going to take a miracle if he's going to be fit for the Twenty20s," Collingwood told reporters. "He has been very sore on the shoulder there, but he's progressing well, so hopefully he'll be available for the first one-dayer.

"Jimmy's just a little bit stiff in the right knee, but again he should be fit for Friday and Graham Onions will come back into the reckoning as well. [Swann] came off with a stiff side, but he's spoken to the medical staff and they don't seem to be too concerned."

After a promising opening to the tour, with two convincing warm-up victories against the Eagles and Warriors, this is a more familiar feel to England's overseas expeditions with defeat against a second-string side and a list of injury worries. At the same time South Africa were hitting their stride against Zimbabwe, but Collingwood has his fingers crossed that the team have got their bad performance out of the way.

"I'm hoping tonight is just a blip. We've done a lot of good stuff so far on this tour," he said. "Obviously Twenty20 cricket's a different format of the game - you're a bit more rushed out in the middle. We'll obviously come out of this, we'll learn from it, we'll discuss it before Friday and hopefully put on a better performance.

"I never like losing, but I think sometimes it is going to be a little bit of a reality check as well. Tonight we got one of the disciplines wrong. That's the area we've got to bounce back from and do better on Friday."

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