Hussain mourns for Hollioake

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The Independent Online

Nasser Hussain and 10 of Ben Hollioake's Surrey team-mates were among hundreds of mourners at a memorial service yesterday for the England cricketer, who was killed in a car crash last weekend.

Hussain, who flew to Perth from New Zealand to represent the England team, brought with him Hollioake's England blazer to return to his family. The 24-year-old all-rounder, who was to be cremated this morning, left the blazer behind after the one-day series.

Among those who spoke at the service, held at a Catholic church in the West Australian port of Fremantle, was Hollioake's brother, Adam, the Surrey captain. He told the congregation: "Ben was too cool to get old. We can all imagine each other with grey hair and walking sticks, but I could only imagine Ben as being both athletic and youthful."

The Melbourne-born Hollioake, who moved to Britain in 1984, died instantly when his Porsche hit a brick wall shortly after he left a motorway in suburban Perth last Saturday. His girlfriend, 23-year-old Janaya Scholten, remains in a critical condition in hospital with serious head and chest injuries.

With the final Test against New Zealand beginning in Auckland on Saturday, it was decided that Hussain would be the sole England representative. He was not expected to attend the cremation; instead he will fly back to New Zealand today.

Also at the service was Hussain's predecessor, Alec Stewart, and John Major, the former Prime Minister and president of the Surrey club. Stewart recalled batting at the other end during Hollioake's one-day international debut against Australia in 1997, when he made 63 from 48 balls.

"He just smashed them everywhere, and I just stood in amazement and awe," he said. "He was the most natural cricketer I've ever played with. I could talk forever about his cricket. But he was also a true friend, a true mate, and this is a very sad time."

The rest of the England squad held a private ceremony in their Auckland hotel to coincide with the cremation. Hollioake, who played two Tests for England, was visiting his parents in Perth after playing for England in the limited-over series. The family were returning home from a restaurant when the accident happened.