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Paul Collingwood says Ashes win wasn’t possible for England


England’s acting coach Paul Collingwood said that it would not have mattered who donned the three lions during the Ashes series – they would have lost no matter what.

“I reckon if you had given us the best England cricketers in the Ashes from the last 100 years and put them in the same environment that those boys have lived in over the past two years with the preparation that we had going into this Ashes even they wouldn’t have had a chance,” Collingwood said from Barbados, where he is standing in for Chris Silverwood.

The former all-rounder said that while errors had definitely played a part, the players deserved praise for the conditions that they had to tolerate in terms of bubbles and biosecurity.

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“Yes, we made mistakes, 100 per cent. We made selection mistakes, we made toss mistakes, but the fact we actually turned up and agreed to a five-match Ashes series, the guys should be given medals for that,” he said.

He went as far as to say that series could have been broken up into two separate tours.

“It would’ve been much better if we’d done two matches and then three next year. That would’ve been a great compromise,” Collingwood said.

“But no, Australia were not bothered that they were going to receive an England team who were mentally fatigued, they just wanted to get the product out there.

“They just wanted the Ashes. These guys deserve medals, not criticism. They should be told ‘well done’ for even going.

“It’s the equivalent of the England football team being asked to go to a World Cup, then from that bubble into the Euros. Would you expect a performance from that scenario? It’s ludicrous.”

England repeatedly cast doubt on the two month tour while negotiating for less restrictive health and travel protocols in the pandemic – before eventually confirming the Ashes would go ahead back in October.

Several players came directly from a T20 World Cup campaign in the UAE, jumping straight from one bubble to another.

“I don’t think people have understood the impact and the effects that these bubbles have had,” Collingwood said.

“Going to the Ashes off the back of a tough bubble in Dubai, I think was literally one step too far. You can’t even explain what it’s like until you experience it.

“The simple fact is you cannot walk out of your front door and as soon as you’re told that you cannot do something as simple as going for a coffee, and you are penned in with the same guys. A lot of people will say ‘that must be fun’ and ‘you’ve got a lovely hotel’ [but] it hits you.”

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