London: As English cricket fans crossed their fingers for Andrew Strauss` men ahead of their must-win World Cup encounter against the West Indies, two girls in the country wanted the team to lose because they were desperate to have their daddy back at home.
All-rounder Paul Collingwood`s daughters were missing him so badly that they wished the English lose the match which they ultimately went on to win narrowly to make the quarterfinal cut.
Keira and Shannon Collingwood spoke to their father on the eve of the match and conveyed their wish in no uncertain terms before the cricketer pacified them with a promise. "`We hope you lose tomorrow, daddy. Then you can come home.` That was quite tough and I had to think quickly," said Collingwood.
"I told them, `Yes, but if we win, daddy will get a few more pennies to buy you more Barbie dolls`. That seemed to do the trick. `OK, I hope you win now`, said Shannon," he recalled. England made the quarterfinals after a roller-coaster group stage campaign in the sub-continent during which they beat table-toppers South Africa and the West Indies, tied against India and lost to minnows Ireland and Bangladesh.
"It has been very emotionally draining. There were times in the match against West Indies when we thought we were down and out of the World Cup. We`ve gone from despair to euphoria in the space of 20 minutes," Collingwood said. The all-rounder credited Strauss for inspiring the team with his composed leadership. "A lot of the credit for our resilience has to go to Andrew Strauss. You can`t get away from the fact that in the back of your mind there will be thoughts about the amount of time we`ve been away this winter. But Straussy has driven us through it," he said.
"Bearing in mind the mental, emotional and physical strain of the Ashes tour and subsequent events, a lesser leader would have had plenty of excuses to choose from if he`s wanted to," Collingwood was quoted as saying. "But Strauss is a very stubborn guy. Whether he is playing table tennis or golf or on the cricket field, he is very hard to wear down and he has urged everyone to forget all talk about fatigue," he added.