England’s hard yards paying off in ODIs, says fielding coach Paul Collingwood

Fielding coach Paul Collingwood puts England players through their paces

England’s dynamic fielding comes from replicating match intensity and game situations in practice, says fielding coach Paul Collingwood.

The tourists produced a stellar display in their second ODI victory over New Zealand on Wednesday, executing four run outs and taking a series of impressive catches to pave the way for a six-wicket success.

Sky Sports commentator Nasser Hussain described that fielding performance as the best he has seen from an England white-ball side and ahead of the third ODI, which you can watch live on Sky Sports Cricket from 12.30am on Saturday, Collingwood talked presenter Ian Ward through some of his drills in a hard-hitting, bruising session.

Watch the pick of the action from England's six-wicket success over New Zealand in the second ODI

Alex Hales, Sam Billings, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow were in the firing line as Collingwood – the most capped England ODI player with 197 appearances – put the quartet through their paces in the ring and on the rope, using cricket balls rather than incrediballs.

The Durham all-rounder explained that making each session as specific as possible is crucial to player development.

“Fielding is like batting and bowling,” said Collingwood, who took 108 ODI catches – a record number for an England outfielder.

“You have to understand the position you are going to be fielding in, in the game. Obviously in the first 10 overs pretty much everyone is in the 30-yard circle so we’ll do some drills for those guys, but Sam and Halesy will be out on the boundary, so we’ll do 20-30 balls of specific stuff in the inner ring and then we’ll get them out on the rope.

“They’ve got to understand as a pair ‘what have I got to work on?’ in 20-30 minutes of fielding practice. There’s no point in doing it at 75 per cent because your foot pattern is completely different.

“Look at Stokes’ run out [of Trent Boult] with Woakes the other night – that was 100 per cent running in and then pace through the ball. It was actually the perfect run out, the way that Woakesy took it in front of the stumps.”

Collingwood got to put his own words in to practice on the recent tour of Australia when he was pressed into action as a replacement fielder in a warm-up match at the Adelaide Oval after a succession of injuries.

The 41-year-old explained that the evolution of batting, fuelled by the power-hitting and innovation in Twenty20 cricket, means tactical fielding analysis and on-the-pitch awareness has never been more important.

“I’ve looked at the stats with Nathan Leamon, our mathematician who gives us all the stats, on chances that are put down; in the ring, the ones that take under a second to get to you – one-handed chances – we’re catching about one in four. So it’s an area you want to try and develop.

“I do sympathise with the guys; generally because of T20 cricket, extra cover, backward point, straight midwicket – these guys are generally getting further and further away from the bat. You understand that because the ball is getting hit harder and harder.

“What happens then is you get players like Ross Taylor and Tom Latham, who in the first ODI just hit the pockets straight to point and square leg; I just felt as though we were sitting off too deep and needed to almost go back to old-school one-dayers because they were just manipulating the ball.

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“It wasn’t the power game but we had our best fielders out on the boundary, which is what you usually do when you’ve got spin on; but the main guys actually needed to be in the inner ring.

“That’s why in the second game we had Stokesy at straight mid-wicket, Eoin Morgan at extra cover and even Jason Roy was inside the ring. We had the key positions covered and tried to suffocate them in that way.”

Watch England take on New Zealand in the third ODI live on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event from 12.30am on Saturday morning.

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