Exclusive: Paul Collingwood groomed for England head coach role with Ashes tour job

Nick Hoult
Paul Collingwood has impressed with England coaching stints in the past - AFP

Paul Collingwood will be part of England’s coaching staff for the whole Ashes tour this winter, a sign of his grooming for the head coach’s role in the future.

Collingwood has toured with England for short stints in the past but Telegraph Sport understands he will take on a full-time role as part of Trevor Bayliss’s backroom staff with planning for the Ashes tour later this year already fully underway.

Collingwood, who turns 41 next month, is likely to be in his last season as a player for Durham and this winter has an opportunity to carve out a future coaching role with England.

Bayliss is contracted until the end of the 2019 World Cup but is unlikely to stay on longer. After appointing an Australian to coach England, Andrew Strauss, the director of cricket, would undoubtedly like to promote English talent when the job next becomes available and, unlike most coaches in county cricket, Collingwood has plenty of top-level playing experience around the world.

Collingwood has impressed England in the past with his fielding drills and the batsmen speak highly of his ability to give throwdowns both right and left-handed without the use of the dog thrower tool used by most coaches these days. The fact the England & Wales Cricket Board is looking to tie Collingwood down now, more than six months before the Ashes tour, is a sign of how highly they regard his input.

Collingwood has plenty of experience at the highest level with England Credit: ap

He also brings experience and recent knowledge of playing Test cricket in Australia. Collingwood was part of England’s victorious team in Australia in 2010-11 and played 68 Tests for England, including two Ashes tours.

England’s coaching staff has lacked international playing experience in recent years, particularly those travelling with the Test team. Of the regular coaching staff only Mark Ramprakash, who last played Test cricket 15 years ago, has had a substantial international career. Graham Thorpe is highly regarded but is not keen to tour full time.

England would have liked to use Collingwood this summer for the Champions Trophy but he is playing in all formats for Durham.

Next week England will announce the 15 man squad for the Champions Trophy, and the South Africa one-day series that precedes it. 

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They will also name a 12 for the two matches against Ireland with Sam Billings in line to take over as wicketkeeper in the absence of Jos Buttler, who misses the first series of the summer due to his IPL commitments. 

Billings has moved ahead of Jonny Bairstow in recent months and is set to play a full role with England in white ball cricket this summer. 

Bairstow deputised for Buttler when he was injured for the one-day series against Pakistan last summer but lost his place in the 50-over team during the tour to India earlier this year.

Sam Billings looks likely to replace Jos Buttler with the gloves for England Credit: afp

Billings has only kept wicket for England once, in a Twenty20 against Pakistan in 2015. He is currently playing for the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL and has not taken the gloves despite injuries to their regular keepers.

The England selectors will decide over the weekend whether to rest Joe Root for the Ireland series which is likely to see the return of Mark Wood, who has not played international cricket since the end of last season.

If the selectors decide to pick only a 12-man squad for the Ireland matches it suggests there will be little experimentation with new players, a further sign of the settled nature of England’s one-day cricket heading into a global tournament.

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