Courage, resilience, determination and grit, the characteristics of Paul Collingwood, often the unsung hero. But until the last two matches, our very own Colli had gone worryingly off the boil. A man who gave his all (as usual) in the first two Ashes Test matches, in an attempt to prove his class and worth to the side, against the biggest of opposition, he patently lost his way following the horrific defeat in Adelaide, in which he watched a fantastic knock of 206 resigned to the back burner, as Australia pulled off a wonderful triumph.
This end result, following hour after hour of toil in the heat, albeit on a flat track, would have been hard for anyone to take and it seemed to hit Collingwood particuarly hard. With the woeful performances in the ODI series that followed, Collingwood fell further and further out of form and a worrying loss of confidence had set in. However, given an illness enforced rest and more importantly, a do or die situation, Collingwood lifted his head for one final fight. And what a fight he has put up in the last couple of matches, taking wickets at a decent economy, making incredible, as well as regulation catches, running out key opposition players with spectacular direct hits and scoring two consecutive ODI hundreds, joining the likes of Gooch, Gower, Stewart, Trescothick, Knight and Flintoff in doing so, a select group indeed.
So Collingwood has allayed any doubts that he should start at the World Cup, no doubt in that familar role between the two power players, Pietersen and Flintoff, where he goes dutifully about his business in tucking away those ones and twos and recovering the situation when the you know what hits the fan. He may not have the class of Graham Thorpe, but he does have the character and same ability to nurdle, which will serve England well for the rest of his improving career.
At Test level he still has much to prove, with his offstump technique a concern, especially against the best of opposition, on pitches which are not quite as placid as Adelaide. At ODI level though he will rightfully line up as part of England's middle order in the West Indies. There may be better batsman out there, with higher technical skills, to take Collingwood's Test place come the English summer, but there is no-one better suited to England's ODI middle order than he, the man with the temperament, fight and poise to cope with the most pressurised of situations. He is a Lion Heart in the truest sense of the word.