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Is Sydney, Paul Collingwood’s last hurrah?

Will the Sydney test match starting in just a few hours be Paul Collingwood’s final test match for England?

The calls for him to go seem to be increasing. Simon Hughes has questioned his long term future in the test squad and Andrew Flintoff is going as far as calling for Collingwood to be dropped in favour of Eoin Morgan ahead of the SCG test.

Flintoff has a valid point for me, as Shane Warne pointed out yesterday the time for making ruthless tough decisions is when you are in a position of strength. That is where England currently are and, why for me, there should be no room for compassion beyond Sydney for Collingwood.

Give him the SCG by all means. But even if he scores a century he has to be gone from the test side by the time England play Sri Lanka in May. There is no way in the world England can continue to leave Ian Bell batting at No.6 with the tail.

The selectors have stuck by Collingwood in the past – and have been proved right to do so. But in the past he had age on his side, as Bell and Cook have when the selectors have previously backed them. This time age will surely count against Collingwood, he is nearly 35, so there is no real logic to stick with him this time.

This is the strongest batting line up we’ve had since 2005 – although it isn’t the finished article by any means and I hope it dosen’t collapse in a heap again in Sydney – so it is the logical time to invest in youth.

If England build their team around Ashes cylcles, then come May with the next one just over 2 years away, it would be the perfect time to make a change and give Eoin Morgan the extended run in the side his talent deserves. Then if he’s not the right man, England still have time to look elsewhere.

I still see Collingwood having an important role in the ODI team. I hope that if he is left out of the test team he continues to play limited overs cricket for England. He did sulk a bit and take his ball home after getting dropped in 2008, I would like to think he wouldn’t do that again.

If he thinks he sill justifies his place in the test team, then he is wrong and should take a look at the record books. At the moment he is just clogging up a space in the batting line up.

It would be a ruthless act to drop him tonight, I would expect the selectors to give him one last game in Sydney and what a place to bow out. It also would be fair enough to offer him the chance to retire and leave on his own terms, as he has been a great servant to the England team in all formats. But whatever way he leaves, he has to be gone from the test side by May.

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