Collingwood wants Ashes platform against Pakistan
Loughborough (England): Paul Collingwood hopes England can use their forthcoming series against Pakistan as a springboard for Ashes success in Australia later this year.
England play the first of four Tests against Pakistan at Trent Bridge starting on Thursday, in what will be their final series in the five-day format before they head Down Under for an Ashes defence that begins in November.
It is now nearly 25 years since England last won an Ashes series in Australia and Collingwood, asked if the team were already thinking about the contest most England fans prize above all others, told Sky Sports here today: "Absolutely, of course.”
"It`s only two months away, and it`s getting closer and closer."
However, the middle-order batsman, speaking at the National Cricket Performance Centre, where the team were training, added: "It would be silly to have full concentration on the Ashes, (but we`ll be) giving ourselves the best opportunities to be as confident as possible and that means to beat Pakistan.”
"Not only in the Test matches but also the one-dayers and the Twenty20s, so we try to get as much of a ruthless streak in us as possible.”
"And if we can do that, that gives us the best opportunity to beat Australia in Australia."
Pakistan go into this series on the back of a thrilling three-wicket second Test win over Australia and Collingwood said: "We`ve seen what Pakistan can do over the past couple of games against Australia, and we feel we`ve got the skills that can either combat that or put a lot of pressure on them."
Meanwhile England wicketkeeper Matt Prior insisted the side were focused on the job at hand.
"I think it`s dangerous to call it a dress rehearsal. I don`t think there`s any feeling like that at all," Prior said.
"It`s very important we take this series as importantly as any other. The Ashes is coming up, yes, but Pakistan look a very strong team and they look in good nick at the minute.”
"We`ve got to make sure we approach this series as we would any other and make sure we go in and win the series."