He managed a mere 20 runs in his first five games with a highest score of nine.
But the selectors stuck with their man and the Durham player has since justified that faith - most recently, with his first century against Sri Lanka.
A one-day specialist - Collingwood has never played Test cricket - he was an ever-present throughout the summer series.
He will return to southern Africa with happy memories, having made his highest score to date and averaging over 80 on the 2001 tour to Zimbabwe.
And he is contributing more and more with the ball as he builds up his experience.
CAREER STATISTICS >>