The international career of Paul Collingwood was left hanging by a thread last night after he was dropped from both the England Twenty20 and one-day squads announced yesterday for the fixtures against Sri Lanka.
The veteran all-rounder retired from Test duty after England's victorious Ashes campaign in Australia but was included in the World Cup squad.
However, upon his return home after England's 10-wicket quarter-final thrashing by Sri Lanka, Collingwood was stripped of the Twenty20 captaincy — despite leading the side to the World Twenty20 title in the West Indies last year — and replaced by leadership novice Stuart Broad.
The former England one-day captain, 35, only recently returned to county action with Durham following a knee injury and hoped to have given the selectors a reminder of his class with a century in a domestic game for his county on Monday. However, the innings came too late and he must be fearing he has played his last game for his country.
"Paul Collingwood has been an inspirational limited-overs cricketer for England over many years, and we still see a role for him in this capacity based on form and fitness," Geoff Miller, the England national selector, said.
"His omission is purely down to form over a period of time.
"He has always brought a great deal to the England team, and we know he'll be working as hard as ever to reach peak form and fitness — with an England recall firmly in the forefront of his mind."
Craig Kieswetter, the wicketkeeper, and the all-rounder Samit Patel won recalls to both squads while Steven Finn, the wicket-taking yet expensive fast bowler, has been retained. He has probably been called up primarily as cover for Broad who hobbled off injured in the recent Test match against Sri Lanka.
The return of Kieswetter represents another wicketkeeping U-turn by the selectors. Kieswetter inspired England to World Twenty20 glory last year but was then dropped, after a poor run of form and was replaced by Steven Davies.
Davies was named as the understudy to Matt Prior in the Ashes party and played seven ODIs in Australia but was surprisingly left out of the World Cup squad in favour of Prior who was not in the original World Cup reckoning.
Prior performed poorly at the World Cup in the middle order and as a pinch-hitting opener and now he and Davies have been jettisoned, with the selectors reverting to South Africa-born Kieswetter.
"Craig has been in exciting form for Somerset so far this year - and while Matt Prior has been outstanding in the Test team, we believe Craig will offer some real firepower with the bat along with his ability with the gloves," Miller said.
Patel, 26, won the last of his 11 ODI caps in November 2008 and has finally accepted calls from the England management to improve his fitness. His ability as a second spinner will enable England to field another slow bowler in addition to Graeme Swann.
* Compiled by The National staff