The Geordie, who led England to victory at the last T20 World Cup in 2010, looks the perfect candidate to give the squad a much needed lift ahead of two qualifying tournaments in Dubai in November and New Zealand in January. Once derided by Australian opponents after he received an MBE for playing a minor role in the last Test of England's breakthrough Ashes success in 2005, he showed his mental strength by establishing himself as one of the world's greatest fielders. A fine all-rounder in all forms and at all levels, he gained a particular reputation with the bat as a gritty one-day closer.
It is that understanding of what it takes to get over the winning line, as well as his proven knowledge of how to bring the best out of young players, which could prove most useful to the Scottish cause. His capabilities were most brilliantly demonstrated this summer, when he led a callow, largely homegrown Durham side to the County Championship title.
In joining the set-up, he declared simply yesterday: "I am very excited at the prospect of working with the Scotland squad over the coming months and look forward to helping the team qualify for the T20 World Cup and the 2015 Cricket World Cup."
That sort of positive thinking will be much needed at the end of what has been a difficult year for the national team, with heavy defeats against Australia A and Australia sandwiched by a string of losses in World Cup qualifiers to Afghanistan and Ireland. That, in turn, has inevitably led to some grumbling about the team's management, and this winter looks like a defining period for the current regime.
But the provision of this level of support to Pete Steindl, the national team's head coach, looks like a substantial vote of confidence in him and his methods. Roddy Smith, Cricket Scotland's chief executive, seemed to indicate this yesterday when explaining the rationale behind freshening up the coaching team. "We've been speaking to Paul for a while, since towards the end of the summer, and we're delighted he has agreed to join us," Smith revealed. "I had a chat with Pete in mid-season and asked him what he felt we needed to do and he indicated that he felt the time was right for changing up the coaching team. We started looking at the list of people we would like to involve and Paul was right up there."
The re-shuffle has also brought a promotion for Craig Wright, the former Scotland captain who is seen as Steindl's likely successor having done well with the under-19 squad. He comes in as specialist bowling coach, but it is Collingwood's recruitment that will be seen as a statement of intent by Scotland's rivals.
"Leading into two vital qualifying events, I was very keen to change things up a bit, add a couple of new voices to the coaching team and bring in coaches who had attained success at the very highest levels of the game," said Steindl. "Paul has been part of successful teams as a player and a captain and it will be great to have his experience and knowledge on board. We identified Paul as a person we were very keen to secure and I am delighted he agreed to join us for the winter.
"I am sure he will be a hugely positive influence on the squad as we head into some really important cricket, while Craig has done a great job with the under 19s for a number of years and is one of our most celebrated cricketers of recent times. His skills will add to a really exciting blend within the coaching team."
The timing of the approach to Collingwood was close to perfect, taking into account both the stage he has reached in his career and his current schedule. Now aged 37, he is beginning to look towards a future in coaching and has just enough time available this winter before returning to Durham for the final year of his current contract.
"The team head to Sri Lanka on October 28 ahead of the T20 qualifying tournament in Dubai and Paul will miss the first two days of the trip because he is going to Buckingham Palace to pick up the County Championship trophy," said Smith. "But after that he is able to be with us for both campaigns."
The first of those campaigns gets underway on October 27 when the squad sets off for Sri Lanka before heading to Dubai on November 9; their first group game is against Bermuda on the 15th.