Paul Collingwood has backed England captain Joe Root to stamp his authority on the team and take it to a new level.
Collingwood, who served as fielding coach during this winter’s Ashes tour, admitted it had proved a difficult series for Root and his team-mates as they lost 4-0 to Australia and then 1-0 in New Zealand, but saw enough positives to give him belief.
“It was a tough winter, but I still felt as though the spirit was still there in the team,” said the former England all-rounder. “Going to Australia, it’s never an easy place – in history, it’s never been an easy place no matter what team we have had.
“But look, Joe Root is going to stamp his authority on that team over time and take it to a new level. The white-ball team has done that over the past two or three years and now it’s up to the Test team to go in a similar vein and really have a brand of cricket that they need to play.”
England have now not won an overseas Test in 13 attempts, but Collingwood, who famously scored a double-century in Australia in 2006 and played in three Ashes triumphs, is convinced of better days ahead.
He said: “Of course the results didn’t go our way, but there are a lot of players in that team who are early on in their career and who are still finding their feet in international cricket, so hopefully that experience will put them in good stead for the future.”
Since the Ashes tour drew to its conclusion, Australian cricket has found itself engulfed by a ball-tampering scandal which has seen captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner banned for 12 months and opener Cameron Bancroft for nine.
“I was shocked at them bringing sandpaper on to the pitch, everybody is shocked at that, but the guys have taken the punishment - and I do feel as though it’s a very harsh punishment,” said Collingwood.
“You see the way it’s affected them and they certainly won’t be doing that again. It’s given everybody a real eye-opener and a real lesson in the spirit of cricket.”
Collingwood’s immediate future will see him embark upon his 23rd season with Durham at the age of 41 later this month, and while he insists he will play on as long as he has the energy to do so, he has been touted as a future England head coach, something he regards with a measure of incredulity.
Of course the results didn’t go our way, but there are a lot of players in that team who are early on in their career and who are still finding their feet in international cricket.Paul Collingwood
He said: “It’s incredible how people give you that tag, but I’m enjoying the coaching through the winters. It’s great to be able to go away and help England with coaching, it’s something that I do enjoy.
“But it’s still early days, I’m early days in my coaching career and still learning a lot, but I have to say, I do enjoy it.”