Paul Collingwood would be a wise candidate to take on England T20 coaching reins

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Paul Collingwood has been part of England backroom staff, on and off, since 2015.

Few people know England cricket better than Paul Collingwood.

The popular former limited-overs skipper is the ideal man to replace Trevor Bayliss immediately and become the new T20I coach.

The Australian has made it clear he is not fussed about leading England forward in the format, admitting he would do away with 20-over international contests if he had the chance. Bayliss’s coaching contract across all three formats lasts until the conclusion of the 2019 Ashes series but he has sped up his exit from one third of that quota.

It leaves Collingwood – a man well-respected within the England ranks and a key member of the backroom staff since 2015 – in the reckoning to get the position full-time.

ECB chief Andrew Strauss of course knows the 41-year-old very well from their playing days together and now would be a great time to shoehorn him in, giving Colly room to also complete what would probably be a final season in county cricket with Durham.

The next World Cup is well over two years away and with a man in charge who actually sees the format as a priority, it’s a wise time to make the change and get early building blocks in place.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 23: Jake Ball, Craig Overton and Paul Collingwood of England look on during an England nets session at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 23, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Collingwood (r) has been part of the team for the recent tour of Australia and New Zealand.

The advantage of Collingwood stepping up is that he is well-liked by current players and is one of them, if you like, given he stills pads up himself, adding to the fact his decade-long career in England’s middle order commands respect.

A gun-fielder in his pomp, Collingwood made the most of his not-so-easy on the eye batting ability and bowling variables to become one of the leading lights in an England side that were slow to initially take up the format. However, that changed hugely when he captained his men to World Cup glory in the Caribbean back in 2010.

It’s undoubtedly a different role, going from the specialty of a fielding coach and limited-overs consulting specialist into the chief leader position, but he should be given an opportunity.

Split coaching could help England get back on track in a T20 format where they’ve lost the way and free up someone like Paul Farbrace to be groomed into the successor for Bayliss at Test and ODI level.

It’s a pattern we’re seeing more and more, with Daniel Vettori last year leading Middlesex’s T20 offering while John Wright did the same at Derbyshire in the NatWest Blast.

Cricket is a sport where relationships and familiarity with the team or board are paramount, so Collingwood ticks all the boxes to be promoted within rather than jettison an outsider from the cold.

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Bangladesh urge Mashrafe Mortaza to make T20 comeback

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Bangladesh would welcome former captain Mashrafe Mortaza back into the national Twenty20 side if he decides to come out of retirement, cricket board president Nazmul Hasan said Tuesday.

The 34-year-old fast bowler announced his retirement from international T20s in February last year but continued to lead Bangladesh in one-day internationals.

Bangladesh have failed to make any impact in his absence, most recently losing the T20 home series against Sri Lanka 2-0.

Nazmul met the team’s coaching director Khaled Mahmud and captain Shakib Al Hasan to discuss the defeat, and said afterwards that he had wanted Mashrafe to return for the Sri Lanka series.

“We discussed… Mashrafe. But it entirely depends on him,” Nazmul told reporters after the meeting.

“Some people said if I tell him, then he would play, but I told him to play in this (Sri Lanka) series… I didn’t force him. He said he wanted to play Test cricket which is why the discussion didn’t progress,” he added.

“Apart from Mustafizur (Rahman), I think Mashrafe is the most dependable (bowler).”

Bangladesh will play their next T20s against India and hosts Sri Lanka in the Nidahas Trophy, scheduled for March 6-18 in Colombo.

Provided by AFP Sport

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Virat Kohli chases greats and other talking points as India aim to clinch T20I series against South Africa

Ashish Peter 20/02/2018
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Kohli is sight of overhauling Sir Don Bradman's feat from 1930.

A series win will be at stake for India when they take on South Africa in the second of the three-match T20I series at the SuperSport Park in Centurion on Wednesday.

Having taken a 1-0 lead courtesy of a 28-run win at the Wanderers, Virat Kohli’s men could inflict further misery on the out-of-sorts hosts who were on the receiving end of a 5-1 thumping in the ODI series.

Here, we look at the key talking points ahead of Wednesday’s clash.

KOHLI CHASES LEGENDS

With a staggering 870 runs in the Tests, ODIs and T20Is so far on the tour, Kohli is in line to break Don Bradman’s feat of scoring 974 runs on a single tour. The legendary Australian had notched those runs in five Tests against England in 1930. If Kohli does indeed overtake Bradman, it would put him in second position on the all-time list.

If he can get 130 runs more in the remaining two games, he could become only the second batsman in history after Viv Richards to breach the 1000-run mark in one tour. The West Indies great had registered 1,045 runs during the 1976 tour of England.

Kohli could be in company of the greatest the game has seen.

Kohli could be in company of the greatest the game has seen.

TWIN-SPIN THREAT ON CARDS AGAIN FOR PROTEAS

In the first T20I, India had lined up with one specialist spinner in Yuzvendra Chahal. With Centurion largely being on the slower side throughout the tour, expect Kohli to line up with two spinners on Wednesday.

That would mean a return to the side for Kuldeep Yadav who was sensational in the ODI series or Axar Patel, who has not had a single look-in on the tour so far. With a series win at stake, the former will be the front-runner to come in.

All of it could spell further trouble for the Proteas who could be in for another trial by spin.

Kuldeep could be in line to return at Centurion.

Kuldeep could be in line to return at Centurion.

IYER OR PANDEY DILEMMA FOR KOHLI

It was Manish Pandey who was preferred ahead of Shreyas Iyer at the Wanderers and though the former remained unbeaten on 29 runs, it came at almosta  run-a-ball. Most notable was his inability to find the boundaries as he struggled to stamp home India’s authority after a brilliant set-up by the top-order. Pandey’s struggle to find his timing meant that the onus of upping the ante fell on MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya.

This could mean a return for Iyer into the squad on Wednesday though the youngster himself hasn’t exactly set the world alight with his performances in the ODIs. If he gets the nod, he will need to step up big time or risk being marginalised from the limited-overs squad.

Pandey just couldn't find the boundaries in the death overs.

Pandey just couldn’t find the boundaries in the death overs.

HOSTS UNDER FIRE TO DELIVER

After the disappointment of the ODI series, the Proteas hit the refresh button for the T20Is with the big guns being rested for the upcoming Test series against Australia.

A new look side led by JP Duminy failed to bring any change in fortunes in the series opener and with India smelling blood, things could get worse for the hosts come, especially with AB de Villiers being sidelined once again with an injury.

With their backs against the wall, expect the Proteas to come out firing as they seek to avoid the ignominy of another home series defeat.

South Africa truly have their backs against the wall.

South Africa truly have their backs against the wall.

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