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Last Updated: Monday, 29 August 2005, 12:24 GMT 13:24 UK
Gatting backs Collingwood option
Collingwood has only featured in two Tests for England
Collingwood has only featured in two Tests for England
Mike Gatting says England should draft in all-rounder Paul Collingwood if paceman Simon Jones fails to prove his fitness for the final Ashes Test.

Chris Tremlett could be in line for a debut but Gatting, the last England captain to lift the Ashes, feels the Durham man is the safer option.

"I think I'd go for Collingwood, who can bowl a few overs and bat a bit," he told BBC Radio Five Live.

"It would be difficult to throw Tremlett in."

Jones faces an anxious wait to see whether he will be fit after going off with an injured right ankle during the third day's play in the fourth Test at Trent Bridge.

Simon Jones has been the pivotal point in the team
Former England captain Mike Gatting

A scan showed there was no fracture and the problem was diagnosed as an anterior impingement of the soft tissue in the ankle joint.

He will continue to receive treatment and his condition will be assessed before the squad is named, though coach Duncan Fletcher said he was "not confident" Jones would recover in time.

Gatting, who won the Ashes with England during the 1986/87 tour, sees Jones' possible absence as a major blow.

He added: "Jones has been the pivotal point in the team, supporting (Steve) Harmison and (Andrew) Flintoff, and it would be a loss if he was not there."

Hampshire's Tremlett has been in the squad for all four Tests without getting a game, but it would be a gamble to bring him in for his debut with the Ashes at stake.

Tremlett has insisted he would be ready to make his Test debut in the high-pressure atmosphere of an Ashes decider at The Oval.

"Obviously I've been hoping to get a chance this summer and Simon's had this ankle problem over the last couple of games and it's got worse as the game has gone on," he told BBC Radio Five Live.

"He's got 10 days to recover, but you never know. I'll keep my fingers crossed and see what happens.

"I feel pretty good and I've worked hard on my bowling lately. If I do get a chance then it will all come together and I can maintain the strong team they've had all summer."

Collingwood is almost irreplaceable in the England one-day side, yet has played only two Tests - against Sri Lanka in 2003.

The 29-year-old grabbed a half-century against Australia in the one-day match at Lord's on 2 July and had bowling figures of 4-34 at Headingley.

His medium-paced bowling has been successful in the one-day arena but England's adherence to a policy of four pacemen balanced by the spin of Ashley Giles has kept him on the Test sidelines.

Interview: Former England captain Mike Gatting

Interview: Duncan Fletcher

Interview: Hampshire's Chris Tremlett

Injured Jones faces anxious wait
28 Aug 05 |  Ashes 2005


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