Collingwood steps out of the shadows

Collingwood steps out of the shadows

I think you play for the love of the game and everything else is the reward for all the work

Collingwood steps out of the shadows

England skipper Paul Collingwood (left) and coach Andy Flower hold the World T20 trophy upon arrival in London on Tuesday. AP

Through an admirably equable temperament, strength of character and a dedicated work ethic, he has prevailed to become a permanent member of the Test side and to emerge triumphant last Sunday as the first England captain to win a global one-day tournament.

Less than a year after they were upset by the Netherlands at Lord's in the opening match of the second Twenty20 World Cup, England defeated Australia with three overs to spare in the final of the third tournament in Barbados on Sunday.

Collingwood, who had previously contributed little with the bat but who had captained shrewdly and fielded brilliantly throughout the tournament, smashed Shane Watson for a six and a four before scoring the winning run.

England team director Andy Flower praised Collingwood as “the epitome of the English fighting spirit”.

“I would like to think that I have worked all the way throughout my career to play the game that I love and all the benefits that come from the game are a real bonus,” said Collingwood.

“I sincerely think that you play for the love of the game and everything else is the reward for all the hard work and the sacrifices that you make.

“What you do is to try and become better and better, that is where we have to get to. The England cricket side has to never stop improving.”

Collingwood made it clear on Tuesday that he has no captaincy ambitions beyond the Twenty20 format, saying Andrew Strauss would return as skipper for the 50 overs version.

“A lot of the success we have had over the last few weeks will go down to a lot of the values that Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss have incorporated over the past year,” he said.

Those values, in which honesty and hard work are of paramount importance, enabled England to regain the Ashes last year and led to a dramatic improvement in the team's one-day form after years of under-achievement.