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Last Updated: Monday, 19 March 2007, 19:02 GMT
Paul Collingwood column

P Collingwood
By Paul Collingwood
England batsman

I don't know what it is about World Cups but they never seem to be uneventful!

Sunday's win over Canada was not pretty - we did not manage to annihilate them, score 400 and bowl them out for 60 - but we did what we had to do.

After what had happened over the previous 24 hours, it was most important to get the win under our belts and put all the off-field problems behind us.

Freddie Flintoff has apologised for the events of Friday night, which you will no doubt have read all about, and the other five players involved are devastated about what they did.

Flintoff & Collingwood
All-rounders Flintoff and Collingwood are vital to England's cause

We know what is expected from us - the boundaries are laid down so we know what we can and can't do.

We know there are times when you can go out and celebrate, and times when you have to do the right thing. On this occasion they stepped over the mark.

We have all made mistakes in the past - I am not saying I have been an angel in the past. If they learn from their mistakes, that is the best thing that can come out of this.

Despite what some people have said, I do not think we have a problem with drinking within the team.

There has never been a curfew put in place by management but in all my time with England it has been spelt out by the coach that players are expected to behave responsibly and prepare for matches in the right way.

It has always been left up to individuals to decide exactly how they do that.

The punishments that have been handed out were appropriate and hopefully it will not happen again. If it does there will certainly be a bigger punishment.

Although this could be a long World Cup campaign, we viewed Friday's match as crucial.

I do not think we froze under pressure but we did not play as well as New Zealand, who adapted to the conditions more quickly than we did.

There were some pleasing things to take out of the match, including the batting of Kevin Pietersen, who adopted a patient approach against his usual instincts.

But again we lost a clump of wickets - three in two overs - and I have to hold my hand up as the first of those, trying to get the ball a little too fine after the third man fielder was brought up.

The vice-captaincy is an important role and of course I would like to be given that responsibility

Paul Collingwood

New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming demonstrated his great cricket brain in his use of bowlers but we were surprised at how well Shane Bond bowled on a slow wicket.

When it came their turn to bat, their run chase was superb, partly because the target was not high enough and they knew if they stayed in they would get the runs required.

We missed Freddie against Canada on Sunday - he is two players in one, bowls at 90mph and is a good batsman - and the events of the weekend put us under undue pressure.

We were short of a third player bowling at over 80mph to hit them hard so that was why we were unable to bowl them out, and we learned a little more about the balance of the side.

At least Ravi Bopara had an opportunity to get a few overs under his belt, and his batting also showed an impressive maturity under real pressure on a difficult wicket.

Although Freddie has been relieved of the vice-captaincy there are no plans in place to appoint a new one. We do not usually have a vice-captain in the team anyway.

If a deputy is needed for Michael Vaughan, I think the management will look at the team and make a decision from there.

I do not have a lot of captaincy experience in my professional career but the vice-captaincy is an important role and of course I would like to be given that responsibility.

My priority, and that of the whole team now, though, is to concentrate on a must-win game next Saturday against Kenya.

We are all disappointed with what happened over the weekend but hopefully now we can put this to bed and move on.

SEE ALSO
Flintoff 'ashamed' by Cup antics
19 Mar 07 |  England
Vaughan rejects discipline fears
19 Mar 07 |  England
BBC World Cup coverage
21 Feb 07 |  Cricket


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