Paul Collingwood has urged England to take caution with their scheduling otherwise players will "break physically and emotionally."

Interim coach Collingwood was appointed after Chris Silverwood's dismissal following the 4-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia, where the first Test starting just 28 days after England lost the T20 World Cup semi-final to New Zealand.

More disappointment followed against West Indies on Sunday as Joe Root's tourists fell to a fourth consecutive Test series defeat since winning in Sri Lanka at the start of 2021.

While questions remain over Root's captaincy tenure and the next coaching appointment by England, Collingwood suggested players will struggle to continue with the ongoing packed schedule.

Indeed, England will want to turn their Test fortunes around having won only one of their last 17 red-ball outings, but they also have another T20 World Cup later this year and their ODI title defence in India to contend with in 2023.

"I'm sure the new coach will want to pick the best team he can possibly have, but if you look at that fixture list, we're going to have to be very careful," Collingwood told reporters.

"Have a look at the fixture list; we're going to blow a lot of players out of the water very quickly.

"Ben Stokes [who took an indefinite break from cricket to protect his mental health and fitness] has been a prime example. He's put his body on the line in this series because he wants to win games of cricket.

"If players continue to do that, they'll break. They'll break physically and emotionally. So, we've got to be a little bit careful to say 'get the best team on the park every time' because that fixture list moving forward is horrific.

"We're all playing Covid catch-up; we all know that. It's going to be hectic for the next two years because we've got to catch up on games and organisations need to catch up on money."

 

Collingwood reiterated his desire to take the England team forward, even if acting within the backroom staff, while he expressed his support for Root amid scrutiny over his leadership credentials.

"I've put my hat in the ring and if they want me, they know where I am," he said. "They've seen what I can do. I haven't got much experience as a head coach, but you would never get a job if that was the case.

"I feel as though what I've done over the last few weeks is a good start, but it's only a start. If I was to take this team forward, I'd want to make them a lot better as quickly as possible.

"There's a lot of speculation on the way they're going to do it, and that will come from the new managing director."

On Root, he added: "Sometimes, it amazes me that he gets questioned, because of how it feels within the dressing room.

"I can see it because we are not winning games of cricket and, when you have that kind of record, I can understand where the noise comes from.

"But you have to understand how it feels in the dressing room and how strong a leader he is. He has the full backing from all the players and the management as well. It feels like he is still very much our number one to take this team forward.

"You can see the passion, the drive, and there's a real hunger to get it right. These aren't just words coming out of his mouth. He's desperate to get the team back to winning games of cricket."

Joe Root declared he wants to keep the England Test captaincy but acknowledged the decision is not entirely in his hands after another series defeat.

Root believes team-mates remain firmly supportive of his leadership, despite a disappointing loss against West Indies.

Draws in Antigua and Barbados teed up a winner-takes-all decider in Grenada, but Root's tourists were always behind after falling to 90-8 on the first day.

Jack Leach and Saqib Mahmood proved unlikely heroes to drag England to 204 all out in the first innings, though a sorry bowling performance allowed West Indies, inspired by Joshua da Silva's maiden Test ton, to scramble to 297 - a lead of 93.

Further batting struggles saw the visitors skittled for just 120 second time around, leaving Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell to chase down a target of 28 in just 29 balls on Sunday, sealing a 10-wicket win.

"I've made it quite clear at the start of this game and throughout this tour that I'm very passionate about trying to take this team forward," Root said.

"I will control all that I can. I don't think it's ever in your hands completely. I feel like the group are very much behind me. We're doing a lot of really good things; we just need to turn that into results now."

England are without a win in five Test series, stretching back to a triumph over Sri Lanka at the start of last year. They are also without a win in their last nine Tests, losing six of those, which is their longest winless streak in the format since a run of 10 between August 2013 and July 2014.

Root told BT Sport he felt a sense of "frustration", adding: "Throughout this series we've played some really good cricket, and we've shown what we're capable of as a group.

"We've grown over the first two games as a batting group, and we've shown big strides in that department, and shown what we are capable of. Yesterday really let us down, it's really hurt us, and it's an important day within the series.

"We just didn't stand up to it well enough, and unfortunately you find us in this position where we've ended up losing the series after we played so much brilliant cricket."

The England skipper added: "I thought the attitude throughout the whole thing has been brilliant – in that respect we've definitely made big improvements. That has to continue.

"There are so many good things we can take away from this. Of course, we came here to win, and we've not, and that's frustrating, that's disappointing. But if we're going to keep learning and keep growing as a team, and if we're going to start winning, then we've got to keep that approach."

 

Interim head coach Paul Collingwood, who replaced Chris Silverwood in the wake of a 4-0 Ashes thrashing, said he had observed total support for Root among England's players.

He said: "The one thing you do notice in that dressing room is that the team is together, they're right behind Joe.

"You can see all the players, all the management, and you can see Joe himself, he's got the determination to still take this team forward and get results.

"The leadership doesn't affect his batting. He's still going out there and scoring the runs and he's still desperate to turn things around and desperate to make this team the best they can be."

Regarding his own uncertain future with England, as the search continues for a permanent coach, Collingwood added: "If I was to be given the job, or they decide they want to give me the job, then I would certainly take it. I've enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting to."

England interim head coach Paul Collingwood heaped praise on Ben Stokes for helping to heal the "scar tissue" from another Ashes disappointment.

Joe Root's tourists were thoroughly outplayed against their old foes Australia, succumbing to a 4-0 series defeat Down Under that saw Chris Silverwood dismissed in the wake of the hammering.

Collingwood was placed in temporary charge to lead a new-look England side, without James Anderson or Stuart Broad, to the Caribbean for a three-Test series against West Indies.

England remain in search of their first win under Collingwood – and in eight Tests overall – but have produced encouraging performances in consecutive draws in Antigua and Barbados.

Stokes, who bemoaned his fitness levels after averaging 23.6 with the bat and 71.5 with the ball in Australia, has been integral to the visitors' spirited showings against Kraigg Brathwaite's side.

Indeed, no seamer has sent down more overs in the series than Stokes (77) for his five wickets and economy of just 1.81. He also registered his first century since July 2020 with a brisk 120 in the second Test.

Collingwood was keen to credit superstar all-rounder Stokes for aiding Root and the rest of the England side in recovering from a familiar Ashes fate as they eye a winner-takes-all decider in Grenada, which starts on Thursday.

 

"He's phenomenal, he's box office," Collingwood said of Stokes.

"He was going into the Ashes with not much cricket under his belt. Now he's fit, he's determined, and you can tell he wants to make a difference in the dressing room as a leader.

"When he's preparing himself like he is at the moment, he certainly leads. He wants to go out in the middle and put in big performances. He wants the ball in hand, to score the runs, and he's doing just that at the moment.

"Even in the meetings when we first arrived, getting the scar tissue from Australia out the way and [discussing] how we were going to move forward, you could see and hear he had the bit between his teeth and wants to lead this team. I think he and Joe Root have done a magnificent job turning this round.

"He's just desperate to do well for the badge, for England. It's amazing when he's got this kind of attitude, as we all know he's one of the best. Long may it continue."

With a fully fit Stokes partnering the in-form Root, Jonny Bairstow and England's refreshed top order, Collingwood finds it hard to fault the efforts of his team so far.

"They want to put on a show, get a win under their belts, and we have a great attitude at the moment," he added. 

"All the way through the [second] Test match, we were pushing for the win. It always felt as though we were a session or session and a half behind the game with the pace Brathwaite batted in the first innings, but he showed great resilience right the way through the Test match to get a draw for them.

"It's been hard work, but you cannot fault the effort. If you could measure attitude and effort, it couldn't get any better than that."

The only criticism of England against West Indies so far has been their failure to take 20 wickets in a Test, albeit on two placid pitches, leading to calls for the inclusion of leg-spinner Matt Parkinson, who Collingwood feels will be ready whenever called upon.

"He is ready as can be," Collingwood said.

"The simple fact is, in COVID-19 times, you don't get matches in between. They are back-to-back-to-back, and it is putting a lot of stress on the players. The downside is we don't have matches in between to have preparation time for guys who are not playing."

Saqib Mahmood will make his Test debut in England's only change for their second match against West Indies, starting on Wednesday at Kensington Oval.

The Lancashire seamer is a like-for-like replacement for the injured Mark Wood, who has been ruled out due to an elbow problem sustained in the first Test.

Joe Root's side played out a draw in that opening contest against Kraigg Brathwaite's hosts in Antigua and have moved on to Barbados for the second of three tussles for the Richards-Botham Trophy.

Centuries for captain Root, Jonny Bairstow and Zak Crawley were stymied by a superb display from Nkrumah Bonner and Wood's injury, on the back of Ollie Robinson being ruled out for the opener.

Root admitted that while Durham bowler Wood would be a loss, he had little doubts about 25-year-old Mahmood's potential.

"He's very mature for a guy who hasn't played a huge amount of international cricket, and he has an understanding of how he wants to operate," Root said.

"He's been very impressive. He's got a slightly different trajectory and will give us a point of difference. He has done that when he's played in other formats.

"Clearly he has good control, especially if the ball moves with reverse swing."

West Indies batsman Bonner, whose recent emergence as a Test player has followed a false start in international cricket in the T20I format 10 years ago, is relishing another battle after his man-of-the-match performance.

"During that 10-year period when I was out, there was a lot of work I put in mentally, physically and technically, and I'm really happy to be reaping the rewards now," Bonner said, quoted by BBC Sport.

"I'm more experienced now, I understand my game a lot better. I always had that belief I could play international cricket.

"Obviously sometimes the belief goes down a little bit, but I kept working and I'm really happy to have come back."

Stokes closes in on select England landmark

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been relatively quiet with bat and ball since returning to the international fold, but he could reach a notable landmark this week.

He needs 84 more to reach 5,000 runs in Test cricket for England; in doing so, he would become just the 23rd player to achieve this feat for the team.

West Indies are one of the three teams against whom he has scored over 1,000 runs.

Roach poised to move up WI rankings

Kemar Roach needs only one more wicket to become the outright seventh-highest wicket taker for West Indies in men's Test cricket.

Roach is level with Garry Sobers on 235 wickets, and the paceman has more wickets against England (54) than against any other team in this format.

Once he moves ahead, he will have sixth-placed Michael Holding in his sights, with 249.

Paul Collingwood will lead England in their Test series against West Indies following Chris Silverwood's sacking.

The ECB has made big changes following a humbling 4-0 Ashes defeat to Australia, with Silverwood and assistant Graham Thorpe following managing director Ashley Giles out of the door.

But Collingwood, another assistant, has remained in place and will take charge for the three Tests, as he did for last month's T20I tour.

After the ECB confirmed his short-term appointment on Monday, Collingwood said: "I am genuinely excited to be leading the Test team for the tour of the Caribbean. I can't wait to get started.

"Having a challenging Test series against the West Indies straight off the back of the Ashes disappointment gives us a chance from now to reset and rebuild.

"Playing Test matches for England is the highest accolade in the game. My objective is to give players clarity, direction and encouragement for them to start building something special.

"I have spoken to Joe Root and Ben Stokes, and both are excited and passionate to take the team forward in this new cycle. Although they know it won't be easy, they have the desire and bravery to do things differently to ensure the team can prosper.

"We have an opportunity to get back on track."

The England squad is set to be named later this week, with Collingwood to join them in Antigua on February 25 following a break in Barbados.

Paul Collingwood says the England players deserve "medals" rather than criticism for getting through a miserable Ashes series as they were "sitting ducks” in Australia.

The tourists were subjected to a 4-0 hammering as Pat Cummins' side exploited their batting frailties Down Under.

Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes and Jonny Bairstow were among the England players who travelled to Australia soon after missing out on T20 World Cup glory in the United Arab Emirates.

England were also devoid of match practice with the red ball before doing battle with Australia.

Collingwood, England's assistant coach, says the strains of having to contend with bio-secure bubbles and such a demanding schedule meant they never really stood a chance of regaining the urn.

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

"It would've been much better if we'd done two matches and then three next year. That would've been a great compromise.

"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. We were sitting ducks."

He added: "Resilience is a major quality you need to have when you go to Australia, and if your resilience is removed – because of the conditions you've been in – that has an effect.

"These guys don't deserve 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 in that scenario? It's ludicrous."

Collingwood, who has stepped up for head coach duties for the ongoing T20I series against West Indies, is concerned about the long-term effects being restricted to bubble environments will have on players.

"You can't even explain what it's like until you experience it," he said.

"Take someone like Chris Woakes, the most loveable and down-to-earth guy. I have seen him in some serious mental states. We have seen Ben Stokes, someone we consider to be the most mentally tough cricketer in the world, hit by this.

"I just hope there are no ramifications moving forward, because when they come, they won't be obvious next week or the week after. These are things that might come out down the line. That's what scares me."

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