Collingwood expects to be back for first ODI

Last Updated: Wed, Nov 18, 2009 20:07 hrs

Johannesburg: Injured England all-rounder Paul Collingwood has said that he has a very good chance of returning to action in Friday's opening One-Day International against South Africa.

The former captain injured his back in England's Twenty20 international against South Africa last week and missed the second match as well as the warm-up game with South Africa A in Potchefstroom.

"I've been progressing really well. It was very sore on Sunday and I had two injections on Monday," Collingwood said in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

"It seems to have all settled down and I did some work in the gym today. I would have been 50/50 if I had to play today, so I think there's a very good chance of me playing on Friday."

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If he plays, Collingwood will break the record for the most One-day appearances for England, which he currently shares with former wicketkeeper/batsman Alec Stewart with 170.

"I wasn't sure I'd play many more after the first four games and I've had a lot of luck along the way, especially with staying injury-free. I had a couple of injuries early on but, touch wood, not so many after that," the 33-year-old said.

"The key to my longevity has been getting the most out of what I have in terms of talent. I guess over time you work out the formula, how to get the best out of the skills you've been given, that's forever been the motto I've played under.

"The game is forever changing, it's a lot more powerful now and I've needed to become fitter and also make changes to my technique," Collingwood added.

He said the English team, which will play five ODIs against South Africa between Nov. 20 and Dec. 4, has the potential to be the best he has played in since his debut in 2001.

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"The potential is there for this side to be the best. We have the athleticism in the field, our batting is very versatile -- it has both power and the ability to hit the ball around in the middle overs -- and the bowling unit is becoming more and more experienced.

"We've played some great cricket recently against the South Africans and we can take great confidence from that," Collingwood said.

Pace bowler Stuart Broad is the one serious doubt for Friday's match with a shoulder injury. Spinner Graeme Swann and swing bowler James Anderson, who both missed the Potchefstroom game, both trained in the gym with Collingwood on Wednesday.

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