Collingwood aims to transform Durham’s fortunes

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NEW Durham skipper Paul Collingwood says he is desperate to bring success back to the county.

The former England all-rounder took over the County Championship reins last week as Durham axed Phil Mustard as four-day skipper.

Collingwood has answered an SOS – Save Our Season – call, with the side currently propping up the Division One table and without a win in the four-day format of the game in 2012.

The Shotley Bridge-born ace knows he has his work cut out, but can’t wait to get started with Durham back in championship action against Worcestershire at the County Ground today.

“I want to do a good job,” he said. “I’m desperate to do a good job, and get this team winning as much as possible.

“I’ll get my teeth right into it, and hopefully we can start today.”

While Collingwood has stepped into the breach mid-season, he insists that he is in it for the long haul, and determined to stamp his own mark on the role.

He added: “It’s not a short-term fix for the next few months, it’s something I’ve agreed to do for as long as I possibly can. Hopefully that will be the next two years of my contract.”

Today’s game could have massive implications for Durham with the home team six points and one place above Geoff Cook’s side in the league table, and having played a game fewer.

Collingwood says he is looking to go back to basics as he tries to add to his side’s meagre tally of 36 points so far this term.

He said: “On a short-term basis we need to start winning Championship games.

“A lot of that comes down to basics, building pressure and batting for long periods of time.

“They’re things we haven’t really been able to do for whatever reason – whether it be weather, skill levels or anything like that.

“We need to get back into basic, proper four-day cricket and hopefully we can get the right personnel to do that.

“There will be little things we can improve on before we go into the game, and just make it very clear to the players what we’ve got to do.

“Things aren’t just going to change overnight, we all know that. But there are ways and means – tactical things, team selection, all that kind of stuff – that can have an immediate impact.”

Collingwood is the first to admit that he never dreamed of one day leading his boyhood county into battle, but feels the time is now right.

And as the only Englishman to lead his country to a major success – the 2010 World Twenty20 – he hopes his international experience can transfer to the domestic game.

“Whenever I’ve been approached to be a captain in the past (by England) I’ve never been that keen on it, but I understand it’s the best thing for the club and it’s really good challenge for myself at the moment, one I’m very excited to do.

“I think it’s the right time in my career. I do think I can move the team forward, and hopefully I can get the right values and principles into the team.

“We’ve got a lot of very talented cricketers at Durham, we all know that, but I guess the short-term thing is to get back to winning ways. It’s critical to keep Durham in the First Division.”

Collingwood was facing a late fitness test before finding out whether or not he could play today. The 36-year-old has not played since breaking his hand against Warwickshire at the beginning of last month.