Collingwood faces late fitness test after dislocating finger

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Cape Town (S. Africa), Jan. 2 (ANI): England all-rounder Paul Collingwood faces a late fitness test after dislocating his finger in order to make an appearance in the Newlands Test.

Fourteen wins from their last 20 Tests with only three losses, all against Australia, make South Africa the Fort Knox of cricket for visiting sides, which is why England are desperately hoping Collingwood, will be fit enough to help crack the winning combination, reports The Telegraph.

Collingwood has been in superb form in all formats of the game for England since the Ashes. But a dislocated finger, picked up while doing reaction catching with a machine and a rubber ball before the fourth day's play at Durban, has threatened to sideline him for the pivotal Test of the series. Paul's finger is surprisingly good and we hadn't factored in that he might bat in our New Year's Day practice," Andy Flower, England's team director, said.

"He gave it a go and he's pleasantly surprised. But he's still a doubt for the game and we'll give him a final test."

Collingwood, who Mickey Arthur, South Africa's coach, called "the heartbeat of England's middle-order," faced an assortment of spinners and gentle medium-pacers in the nets. He also did some slip catching as if to a spinner, his finger still heavily bandaged.

Most of the firm shots he played brought little reaction from him, though he did take his hand off the bat after slogging a full toss and when playing the occasional cut shot.

However, he needs to prove he can face the quick bowlers and cope with a sterner fielding session before Flower and Andrew Strauss will consider him for selection.

If he is ruled out England will miss him terribly and not just for his gritty batting. His worth as a slip fielder, especially to the spinner, is probably worth a wicket or two every match. (ANI)

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