Saturday, September 4, 2010

Collingwood remains fully focused

First Twenty20 international: England v Pakistan
Date: 5 September Start time: 1530 BST Venue: Cardiff Coverage: Live ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio 4 Long Wave and BBC Sport website; live text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles; Also live on Sky Sports


Flower calls for England focus

England captain Paul Collingwood said his side are "100% prepared" for Sunday's first Twenty20 international against Pakistan in Cardiff.

But he admitted the corruption row that has engulfed the Pakistan team had left him and his team-mates feeling low.

"There was an air of sadness [when the allegations of spot-fixing came to light]," stated Collingwood.

"But the guys are looking forward to getting on with the cricket and hopefully winning the game."

Collingwood added that the day the allegations broke, as England wrapped up the series with a comprehensive victory in the Lord's Test last Sunday, was one of the lowest points of his career.

"There was an air of sadness around the ground," continued the Durham all-rounder. "Sunday at the Test match, it's fair to say it was one of the lowest points I've got as a cricketer.


"It was a difficult day, but as the week's gone on decisions have been made and we can now focus on the cricket in hand.

"The guys are very much 100% prepared to get on with the job in hand and play against Pakistan."

Yorkshire seamer Ajmal Shahzad has been called into the England Twenty20 squad as cover for Stuart Broad, who has a groin injury.

Broad suffered discomfort in his groin during practice on Friday and was unable to finish the training session.

However, an England spokesman explained the decision to call up Shahzad - already in the 50-over squad - is purely precautionary. Broad will continue to receive treatment but at this stage is not ruled out of Sunday's match.

Collingwood said the decision to drop Pietersen for the two Twenty20 matches and five 50-over internationals will be vindicated in the Ashes series in Australia this winter.

"For him to be dropped, there's obviously a bigger picture there to be looked at. Surrey have taken him on to hopefully get him back into form and win games," Collingwood commented.

"If he does that, gets the confidence back, it's great for England in the long run. I think that's a good decision in the long run."

Meanwhile, Pakistan have drafted two players into their squad to plug the gaps created by the suspension of Butt, Asif and Amir.

Batsman Asad Shafiq and left-arm seamer Mohammad Irfan, who are currently in Sri Lanka with the Pakistan A team, will join the senior squad next week.

All-rounder Abdul Razzaq is a doubt for Sunday's Twenty20 game against England after injuring his back during their one-day win over Somerset.

Razzaq, who scored only two runs as the tourists were all out for 264, suffered the problem while warming up between innings and was unable to bowl.

England (from): PD Collingwood (captain), C Kieswetter, SM Davies (wkt), RS Bopara, EJG Morgan, LJ Wright, TT Bresnan, SCJ Broad, GP Swann, MH Yardy, JM Anderson, RJ Sidebottom, A Shahzad

Pakistan (from): S Afridi (captain), M Hafeez, S Hasan, F Alam, M Yousuf, U Akmal, K Akmal (wkt), A Razzaq, U Gul, S Ajmal, S Akhtar, W Riaz, A Ali

Umpires: R Kettleborough and N Llong

Third umpire: R Illingworth

Match referee: J Crowe

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