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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 11:08 GMT
England players backing Nasser
Paul Collingwood
By Paul Collingwood
England all-rounder

I certainly hope Nasser Hussain does not step down as captain at the end of the World Cup.

We had no idea he was about to make the public comments he did last weekend and we still wouldn't - had we not seen it on television.

That tells you everything about the man.

Throughout this whole sorry episode he has conducted himself incredibly well.

He has stood up for us but protected us at the same time.

It has been a real lesson for the younger guys in the squad and my admiration for him has grown.

England captain Nasser Hussain
My admiration for Nasser has grown
He's a strong man and he knows his right from wrong.

The overwhelming feeling was one of relief after the victory over Holland.

Not because we won but because we finally got our campaign under way.

There were some tired legs after the match, even mine, and I didn't get a bowl or to the crease until the match was pretty much won.

That's how it goes sometimes. I know I'm in the side as a sixth bowler and until I improve with the ball and become a genuine all-rounder that will be my role.

But the performance of the team as a whole was very professional.

We knew what we had to do and we went out and did it.

Sure, a few wickets went down at the end but we were aware of the need to start with a healthy net run rate and that was our priority.

And it makes it easier when your opening bowler takes the first four wickets for next to nothing.

Jimmy Anderson is beginning to make a habit of this.

Apart from one spell in Australia when Matthew Hayden got after him - and there aren't many international bowlers who haven't suffered that fate - he has barely put a foot wrong when playing for England.

He seems to hit the same line in every match and shapes the ball away from the right-handers nicely.

England batsman Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan relaxes in Port Elizabeth
He tells me that he bowls the same in one-dayers and first-class cricket, which shows you just how innocent his outlook is.

Jimmy was thrown in at the deep end - which is unusual in English cricket - and now he's got up a man of the match award on his World Cup debut.

The four-hour coach ride from East London to Port Elizabeth was a bit long for my liking, with the usual banter and CDs doing the rounds.

Once here we enjoyed a rare day off playing golf.

We had a five-ball going with Nasser, Jimmy, Steve Harmison, Ian Blackwell and myself.

I'd like to know who suggested we each throw 100 rand into the kitty.

I play off eight, Ian off nine and the others are 14, 15 and 18.

Typical! Blackwell won on the last hole.

Every game crucial now
15 Feb 03 |  England
Focus back on cricket
13 Feb 03 |  England
Rested and ready to go
07 Feb 03 |  England


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