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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 November 2006, 13:46 GMT
Paul Collingwood column

Paul Collingwood
By Paul Collingwood
England all-rounder

Collingwood and Steve Harmison
England flew into Sydney on Sunday to prepare for the Ashes
It's taken a couple of days to get over the jet-lag since we arrived in Australia on... was it Sunday morning?

So far we have had a couple of pool sessions, a weight session and a couple of low-intensity net sessions, which is easier said than done with a team this keen to get on with things.

I'm still waking up at 4am or 5am, which has its upsides as we are staying right in the middle of the city.

There are some of the best views in the world in the course of a 20-minute run, going round the Opera House, through the Royal Botanic Garden and past the Harbour Bridge.

We try to be as low-profile as possible - no brightly coloured England gear allowed - and don't go out in big groups so as not to be too obvious.

There are a few sly comments but the Aussies have been quite friendly.

The attention from TV and newspapers has not been as in-your-face as I had expected it to be either.

I know it is going to be touch-and-go whether I get in the side so it is important for me to make an impression

We are finding at the moment that the English media are pumping the Ashes series up more than the Australians.

The English newspaper men were out in force at the media session when we arrived.

Each player is allotted to a table and sits there for 10 or 15 minutes fielding questions from anybody who wants to join you.

Marcus Trescothick and Steve Harmison both attracted big crowds and I didn't have anyone to speak to, which was just fine by me!

You get big comments from certain players picked up in the media about individual wickets or who is going to get who out.

But I'm sure once the tour matches start, with Friday's one-day game and then two three-day matches in quick succession, the build-up will start in earnest.

Although the question of how the Test team is balanced is a hot topic at the moment, I knew from the start of the winter that I had to perform in these three warm-up games.

Panesar, Collingwood, Read and Bell jog
Training sessions have been light as players recover from the flight
Because of the way the games are scheduled, if you are not chosen for the first Test, you are unlikely to be chosen for next two either.

I know it is going to be touch-and-go whether I get in the side so it is important for me to make an impression, not just to make 50s or 60s but big hundreds.

We are all quite realistic about who is competing for places.

With the wicket-keepers it is Chris Read against Geraint Jones. With the batsmen, Ian Bell and Alastair Cook and I are fighting for two spaces.

There are no niggles between us. If anything, we drive each other on. It's not something we tend to talk about, though.

You get on with your own preparation so when your opportunity comes you can make hay.

I have said in this column before that I feel that over the last year I have done as much as I can to get into the side and, if that's not good enough, I know I could not have done any more.





Ashes venues guide
11 Oct 06 |  The Ashes
BBC Ashes coverage 2006/07
01 Nov 06 |  The Ashes
BBC Ashes archive
02 Nov 06 |  Classic Ashes
England in Australia 2006/07
15 Dec 05 |  Future tour dates


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