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Paul Collingwood relishing the role of coach with Scotland

Paul Collingwood's contract with Scotland is slated to end after the Qualifiers © Getty Images
Paul Collingwood’s contract with Scotland is slated to end after the Qualifiers © Getty Images

Jan 13, 2014

After serving the England test and one-day teams for decades, Paul Collingwood is now ready for international coaching.

At 37 years of age and with one year still to run on his current contract with Durham, Collingwood is in New Zealand, co-coaching Scotland in the ICC World Cup 2015 qualifying tournament.

Scotland approached Collingwood last October to serve as an assistant coach under Australian Peter Steindl. He saw his position elevated to co-coach alongside Craig Wright, after Steindl stood down following Scotland’s failure in the ICC World Twenty20 qualifier in Dubai in November. Though being an international co-coach came a lot quicker than Collingwood thought it might, it’s a role he is enjoying immensely.

“It’s something I’ve thought about my whole career – that’s giving back to the game,” Collingwood told the Sunday Star-Times last week.

“That’s giving back to the youngsters what you’ve learned and what you’ve developed over the many years I’ve played professional cricket.

“If I can give one per cent to one player, you’ve done your job – but hopefully you can have a lot more success along the way.”

Scotland head into the qualifying tournament as one of the better rated teams, behind only the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Netherlands in terms of ICC rankings. Getting to the final will be no walk in the park however, Collingwood said.

“There’s a lot of pressure on teams,” he said. “There is a lot of money involved. We know what the task in front of us is, and we know it’s going to be difficult.

“A lot of these associate teams are very, very talented sides and they come out and play with no fear. I was absolutely amazed how teams played during the Twenty20 qualifiers last November,” he added.

While the second tier of international cricket gets nowhere near the attention a touring England side might, Collingwood believes it is crucial to grow the game in places like Scotland, UAE and the Netherlands.

Collingwood, who was recently called out by former skipper Michael Vaughan to join the English coaching setup following the embarrassing 0-5 Ashes whitewash in Australia, pointed to the incredible story of Afghanistan qualifying for next year’s World Cup directly, and previous top level upsets as the impact smaller nations can have.

“You almost take it for granted when you play for England, and any other top international side,” he said. “It’s like winning the lottery for these guys.

“I’ve got first-hand experience losing against the Netherlands, in the opening game in T20 World Cup in England, and losing against Ireland in the last World Cup in Bangalore.

“These guys are certainly hard to play against at World Cups – let’s just hope I can help get Scotland there.”

His contract with Scotland runs out after this month’s tournament in New Zealand – but Collingwood admitted it would be “hard not to” return with the side to next year’s World Cup if they qualified.

“To be so close to them, it’s great to forge those relationships,” he said. “It is only two months, but you never know what can happen in the future.”

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