Collingwood ridicules career slide slur, says enjoying best phase of his career

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Johannesburg, Sep 25(ANI): England all-rounder Paul Collingwood has quashed rumours that he is past his best after an average performance in the 2009 Ashes and the NatWest Series against Australia, and said that he was enjoying the best phase of his career.

Collingwood, who also stands to overtake former England captain Alec Stewart's record of 170 one-day international appearances if England reach the final of the Champions Trophy, said: "It is ridiculous to say I am on the slide,"

"I am quite taken aback at that suggestion, that is why I am laughing at it. There is nothing in my mindset anywhere near as negative as that idea. In terms of statistics and hundreds I have had my best year of international cricket," The Times quoted Collingwood, as saying.

Collingwood further expressed confidence in his team ahead of their first Champions Trophy group game against Sri Lanka on Friday.

"In the form that we have been in the past few weeks it will be very hard to say we are going to come out and win it," Collingwood said.

"But, I am never going to say never, am I?" he added.

Meanwhile, England team-director Andy Flower said that the experience awaiting younger players against Sri Lankan spin duo Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan was "very exciting".

"Seeing Mendis for the first time is surprising for batsmen. Players have studied footage and spoken to guys who have had success against him. They are as prepared as they can be without actually facing him," Flower said. (ANI)

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