Hollioake fights frustration of life on sidelines (23 January 1999)

23 January 1999

Hollioake fights frustration of life on sidelines

By Paul Newman in Adelaide

BEN HOLLIOAKE'S one-day international series is proving every bit as frustrating as his Ashes campaign. He was the only member of the England touring party not to play a Test, and going into today's match against Sri Lanka at Adelaide he was the only player in the 16-man one-day party not to feature in an international - a far cry from his much heralded and over-hyped introduction to the side in 1997.

England have been desperate for the younger Hollioake to prove himself capable of filling the No 7 spot in the Test side, but coming towards the end of his first senior tour the wait goes on. He flourished with England A in Sri Lanka last winter but has still to score a century or take five wickets in an innings for Surrey.

"As a result of my start in international cricket some people seem to think that's what I should achieve every time," said Hollioake yesterday after net practice at the Adelaide Oval. "Maybe that's what I thought I should achieve every time, but international cricket isn't like that."

David Graveney, the chairman of the England selectors and one-day tour manager, chose the start of this triangular series to state publicly that Hollioake could not go on living on the back of two brilliant one-day innings at Lord's in 1997 - the first for England against Australia and the second for Surrey in the Benson and Hedges Cup final - and that it was time for him to perform. So far he has not had the chance.

Hollioake, 21, has become a peripheral figure on an Australian tour which has taken off for England since the Melbourne Test and he admits he has been affected by being on the sidelines. "My confidence has suffered to some degree. When you aren't getting a game you start to wonder whether you're good enough to play," he said.

"But it hasn't knocked me back. Injuries may occur before the final here and I could come in and become the player of the final. I don't want what has happened to me on this tour to happen again, but the main point is that I'd rather be here not playing than elsewhere and not in the squad."

Yet that has meant a diet of net practice, an aspect of the game that Hollioake does not relish. "I like to be out in the middle and I'm not a great lover of nets," he said.

"Adam [his brother] has had a chat with me and he recommended that I keep on enjoying it because cricket is good for nothing if you're not enjoying it. I'm only 21 and this is my first full tour so it's all pretty exciting. That's what has kept me going."

Zimbabwean officials decided yesterday to line up Harare South at short notice as an alternative venue for the England A one-day game against Mashonaland today.

The first one-dayer at Old Hararians' ground near the city centre, which was due to be played yesterday, could not be started owing to saturated conditions around the square - producing a third blank day in succession. England's frustrated players were given time off for golf and sight-seeing on a lovely day of sunshine.

Source :: Electronic Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk)