England still expecting Hollioake to do his duty (22 December 1998)

22 December 1998

England still expecting Hollioake to do his duty


HOBART, Tasmania, Dec 22 (AFP) - Ben Hollioake started the current Ashes tour of Australia as England's next Ian Botham.

But it now looks as if he will finish his maiden senior tour still a long way short of coming anywhere near Botham.

The Surrey all-rounder has been hailed as one of England's greatest prospects ever since he burst onto the international scene with a brilliant 63 off 48 balls against Australia at Lord's during the 1997 One-Day series.

Hollioake's failure was underlined in comparison to the ruthless manner in which stand-in captain Michael Atherton scored a career-best 205 in the tour match against a young Australian XI here.

His tour has so far yielded just 26 runs from five first-class innings since he injured his groin in the opening match against an ACB Chairman's XI at Lilac Hill in October, while his two wickets have cost 56 apiece.

"He's never really got going into the tour," conceded coach David Lloyd.

"We would put him down in the all-rounder category who is pushing for a place, and he's not actually done that.

"He's a little bit behind with match practice through being unfit for a fair amount of time. He doesn't give too much away and doesn't give too many signs that he frets too much.

"We understand that he's had injury problems and he's the one player who is playing catch-up, but when he has an opportunity he really has to cash in=2E"

But Lloyd stressed Hollioake's laid-back manner should not be wrongly perceived as an indication that his disappointing tour and his eagerness to succeed has not affected him.

"There are no visible signs of frustration with a bat flung or glove thrown or kicking at something. He is one who sits and reflects and goes quiet and then comes out of it -- but he needs to kick on," said Lloyd.

"I don't think he's the type of lad who is a confident type of player or someone who's unduly affected by having a bad run of form and getting to the stage where he's wondering where the next run is coming from."