Cricket: Hollioake given backing as one-day captain

David Graveney, the England manager, yesterday denied that appointing Adam Hollioake captain against potentially volatile opponents such as Pakistan, West Indies and India is a gamble.

Surrey have developed a reputation for being a noisy, awkward side on the field under 26-year-old Hollioake, but that did not stop him leading England's new one-day squad in the Champions' Trophy in Sharjah.

As England prepared to leave for Lahore where they will warm-up for the four-nation tournament in the United Arab Emirites, Graveney said: "Mike Gatting and I had a first-hand view of Adam's captaincy on the A tour of Australia last winter and his qualities were obvious, so we don't see it as a gamble.

"Nor is this a head-to-head shoot-out between Adam and Michael Atherton to see who is to captain England in the future.

"It is an exciting challenge for Adam both in terms of the captaincy and also to cement his place in the Test side."

The 14-man England squad, packed with one-day specialists, arrive in Lahore today and will play three warm-up games.

The Sharjah tournament begins on Thursday week against India, with matches following against West Indies on 13 December and Pakistan two days later.

Worcestershire are favourites to sign Derbyshire's England international Devon Malcolm from under the noses of Northamptonshire. Duncan Fearnley, the chairman, confirmed Worcestershire's interest.