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Four-match ban for Collingwood

Ted Corbett

— Photo: AP

Paul Collingwood.

LONDON: Paul Collingwood, the England one-day captain, has been banned for four one-day internationals, after his side failed to bowl its overs in the allotted time during the fourth match against New Zealand at the Oval on Wednesday.

Javagal Srinath, the former Indian fast bowler, now the match referee in charge of the series said Collingwood pleaded guilty and he has chosen not to appeal. He is the first England player to be banned.

Collingwood will miss the final one-dayer against New Zealand at Lords on Saturday with New Zealand leading the series 2-1. He is also out of the one-day game against Scotland, so lowly rated it will not be televised at the height of the Olympics, the Twenty20 game against South Africa and the first South African one-dayer.

All three matches are in August. The offence Collingwood committed was upgraded by ICC from Level Two to Level Three because he had been fined half his match fee for failing to bowl three overs in time against India last summer.

Sympathetic

ICC appears to be sympathetic towards Collingwood because it has made a point of mentioning that the punishment is the minimum allowed.

His decision to maintain the appeal against Grant Elliott has had a predictable huge impact in England. The airwaves have been full of men and women who claimed they hated his decision, said it was not cricket and even, in one case, threatened never to support England again.

Collingwood’s apology

His apology for what he did in the heat of battle on television after he had already been into the hostile New Zealand dressing room to say sorry has been accepted as a first, minimum step. Robert Croft, the former England off-spinner now captain of Glamorgan, said Collingwood needed more support from his senior players but Collingwood simply said: “With hindsight I realise I made the wrong call.”

That will not save his career if history means anything. Tony Greig, one of the brightest captains in England’s 131 years of Tests, was sacked for his association with Kerry Packer, the Australian television billionaire as they put together World Series Cricket. Mike Gatting shouted at the Pakistani umpire Shakoor Rana, and was not reappointed for that reason, and Mike Atherton’s career was saved by his coach Ray Illingworth who fined him for the dirt in the pocket incident at Lords in 1994.

Pietersen is captain

Kevin Pietersen was the obvious captaincy replacement for Collingwood and his appointment came only a couple of hours later. He is a controversial character and I doubt if there will be many boring moments while he is in charge.

Pietersen is a commanding batsman and no doubt will have strong ideas about leadership. How would he have behaved if faced with the decision Collingwood had to make on Wednesday evening? He is a firm believer that England does not go hard enough for victory and my guess is that he would also have pressed for a run-out decision.

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