Cricket: Hollioake issues challenge

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The Independent Online
ADAM HOLLIOAKE, England's one-day captain, has challenged the fringe players in the squad for the Wills International Cup in Bangladesh to stake a claim for a place in the World Cup side.

Hollioake - whose side face South Africa in the quarter- finals in Dhaka on Sunday - believes that there are only two or three places remaining to be claimed in the 14-strong squad for cricket's showpiece competition. Those expected to heed the challenge in particular are Warwickshire's Dougie Brown and Lancashire's Graham Lloyd. Dhaka is the place to demonstrate they are worth a place among the England squad in May.

Hollioake said: "I do believe we have the nucleus of a squad that can go a long way in the World Cup, that can be there or thereabouts in the final shake-up. I think there are 10 or 11 names out of the final 14 which will virtually pick themselves. There are probably up only two or three positions up for grabs.

"I think that will be the case unless someone plays really badly and has a major loss of form or gets injured. Then the picture might alter slightly but not otherwise. That is why this competition is more important to the fringe players. If someone has a really fantastic tournament then they can put themselves in the picture."

Hollioake remains confident that, despite a moderate domestic season, he will be part of the World Cup plans, even though it will be Alec Stewart at the reins rather than himself. He said: "I was disappointed not to go to Australia for the Ashes tour but also realised that I hadn't played as well as I can do when it came to deciding who was getting picked.

England face Bangladesh in their final warm-up match at the BKSP ground today, following the 118-run win over Zimbabwe on Wednesday. England's only slight injury problem concerns the Kent all-rounder Matthew Fleming, who has tweaked a hamstring.

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