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Collingwood fit after cortisone injection

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collingwoodPaul Collingwood will take the field at Lord’s on Thursday for his 30th consecutive Test appearance, after reporting no ill-effects from the cortisone injection that he received in his right shoulder on Friday night. However, he is aware that the injury - which he sustained in Sri Lanka before Christmas and aggravated again ahead of the New Zealand tour in February - could yet require surgery, and that is a prospect he is determined to postpone for as long as possible.

“Surgery is obviously a possibility, but I’m not going to worry about it, because this cortisone will work for the next two months at least,” said Collingwood. “All I can do is keep it strong and in as little pain as possible, and work on all the shoulder routines I have been given. It’s pretty hard work, but that’s what you’ve got to do. It’s part and parcel of professional sport.”

Collingwood first suffered the injury while diving for a caught-and-bowled during the third ODI against Sri Lanka in Dambulla in September. An injection carried him through the remainder of that trip, although he refrained from bowling, and he was able to take a full part with bat and ball during the subsequent Test series in December.

But the nature of Collingwood’s role in the side - batsman, bowler, and wholehearted fielder in the point and gully region - means that the wear and tear on his body is intense, especially seeing as he is also captain of the one-day side and therefore never gets a chance to rest between engagements.

“There’s no respite, full stop,” said Collingwood, “but the fact is, I don’t want to give my place away in any kind of game. I’m not going to go away for three to six months for an operation and expect to get my spot back. Surgery is the last resort, because you miss so much cricket and you never know how you’ll respond.”

All the same, Collingwood and the England management will be concerned by the increasing frequency with which his shoulder has been giving way, especially now that he has had the third and last of the cortisone injections that are medically advised for any single area of the body. The next time the problem arises, there may be no option but to go under the knife.

“Until the day comes when it’s affecting us on the field, I won’t worry,” said Collingwood. “There was no point in getting it done there and then, when one injection would get me through. A lot of cricketers have the same problem, whether they dive around at backward point or bowl a few overs. A lot do have these injuries and they do manage them.”

Adding to Collingwood’s woes is his current lack of form with the bat. He has managed only 32 runs in five innings for Durham this season, and was picked apart for 3 and 2 by his Test colleagues Andrew Flintoff and James Anderson at Old Trafford last week. Flintoff will not be playing at Lord’s after sustaining a side strain during that match, but Collingwood was full of praise for the force of his performance.

“Fred was definitely a handful last week. Honestly, it was exceptional,” he said. “I couldn’t lay bat on it, he was on the max. He impressed everybody, and the Durham lads were saying: “Wow, that’s what it’s like.” I was having to say, not every bowler’s like that. To say I’ve been a bit short of runs is an understatement, but it’s a difficult time of year to bat and I’m still confident enough. You just back your own ability that you can go out there and keep to your gameplan.”

Collingwood turns 32 at the end of the month, and given the nature of his injuries, he is aware of the importance of savouring his time at the top of the game. Few England cricketers have made so much of their abilities or opportunities as he has done, ever since cementing his role in the side during the Pakistan tour of 2005-06.

“In Pakistan I was just trying to find my feet, so to play the next 30 games is a massive achievement,” he said. “Hopefully I’m a better player than I have been. I still scrap around for runs, but I’ll always be that kind of a player. I’ve enjoyed the last couple of years, and want it to carry on.”

Source:Cricket News

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