It’s been a good term for visitors to Beverley Grammar School. On Tuesday 15th November, England cricketer Paul Collingwood paid a visit to the school grounds to coach the enthusiastic year 10 cricket team. The Beverlonian was there to get an exclusive interview.
Beverlonian: When you were a child, did you enjoy sports?
Paul Collingwood: Yes, when I was a child I was into football and golf, and of course cricket.
B Where did you learn to play when you were younger?
PC Well my father got me into cricket, and he would take me to Shotley Bridge (County Durham) where I would play cricket.
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B In your career, what was your best wicket?
PC I didn’t get many, but I would have to say I got Sachin Tendulkar out at Trent Bridge in a test match and the umpire gave him an LBW. I don’t think it was the right decision but he put his hand up and that means he’s out. The next morning the paper said “LBW Collingwood on Tendulkar”!
B What’s it like being vice-captain for Durham?
PC It’s an honour! I mean Durham is my home county and I was given the opportunity at an earlier age in 1996, I was only 18 and I was given a contract then. Being vice-captain is extra special.
B Why did you decide to retire from test cricket?
PC I knew during the Ashes series that there were better players coming through and also that I had a good go. I had played 68 test matches, I felt that I had given it all I could give and in the form of the game I probably had nothing else to give. I was happy the way we went beating Australia and to have done that I thought it was the right time to retire.
B If England asked you to come out of retirement, would you?
PC I am still involved and still available, if they asked me to play again I would, I would love to.
B What was it like winning the Ashes for the first time?
PC It was amazing because Australia at the time were probably the best team, and to have been involved in that was great. There were very good celebrations.
B What is it like batting against Shane Warne?
PC It was tough because, in my opinion, he is the most skilful spinner that I have played against, I say skilful because he brings the ball from the back of his hands because he is a leg spinner. I think you need more skill to be a leg spinner. But it was not just that about Shane Warne, he tried to have an aura about him and he dominated over you before you reached the crease. He had this confidence that made him hard to play against.
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B What do you think was the toughest game you played in?
PC I would say when we went through a period in Australia were we got beat 5 nil. I think the 3 games after that were the toughest because we knew we had lost the Ashes.
B What were your favourite things about being a cricketer?
PC That it let me travel around the world, but mainly because I was playing for England.
B What route did you take to where you are now?
PC Club cricket from a very early age and I was lucky to get into coaching courses at Durham. I did play cricket in School. I just went through the age classes. I was lucky because Durham became a top class county in 1992, which was a perfect time, because it let you go straight through to professional level.
B What advice would you give to a young person who enjoys cricket?
PC I would say have fun and enjoy the game. Hit the ball as hard as you can because the way cricket is going people are getting more powerful and I was brought up with a technique of high elbow and trying to hit it for extra cover.
by Nick Johnson (Year 9)
from the Beverlonian (Autumn 2011)