Hollioake minor joins older brother in the England side

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The Independent Online
Ben Hollioake, Surrey's 19-year-old all-rounder has been picked along with his elder brother, Adam, in England's squad for this week's Texaco Trophy one-day matches against Australia. David Graveney, the chairman of selectors, had promised us variety, he just hadn't mentioned that it would come from the same bloodstock. If both play, it will be the first time that two brothers have appeared in the same England side since Peter and Dick Richardson played against the West Indies in 1957.

Learning of his inclusion yesterday morning, Ben said: "I wasn't really awake when Adam passed me the phone over at about 8.30. But when he said it was Mr Graveney, I soon woke up.

"We're very proud of each other. Adam has worked a lot harder to earn his spot. It's all a bit of a surprise that it's come to me. I'm still trying to establish myself in the Surrey team."

As if to underline his meteoric rise, Ben then let it slip that it was only two years ago that he was bowling to the Aussies in the nets in Perth. "I was totally in awe of them," he said.

Such reverence is sure to be knocked out of him by big brother, who captained England A in Australia last winter. "I seem to play all my cricket against the Aussies," chirped Adam. "They fire me up and I love it." It is an attitude he puts down to the competitiveness of his Australian father, an offshore engineer, rather than any link with the country of his birth. It is an irony not lost on those who will accuse the selectors of trying to fight like with like.

The Hollioake's cricket pedigree is as sturdy as the surname implies. Born and raised in Australia, both received an English public school education: Adam at St George's Weybridge, Ben at Millfield. Both, too, are talented all-rounders, with Adam, the Surrey captain, presently the stronger bat and Ben the better bowler, despite playing just five first-class games.

They are not yet the Waugh's, however, a comparison Graveney felt was "a big shout" when asked if they could go on to emulate the phenomenal contributions of the Aussie twins. But if a similarity can be found with them it will be in their lack of sibling compassion when the side gets picked and three all-rounders have to be permed from the five currently in the squad.

The most impressive asset the pair possess is their unflappability, a rare commodity in one as young as Ben, and one that will stand both in good stead for the first of the summer's battles. Teenagers don't often get picked for England, the last being Brian Close in 1955. A move Graveney hoped would "send the right messages to young talented players - that age is irrelevant if you can play."

But if eyebrows are raised, it won't be by those who have saw him play for The Rest against England A at Edgbaston a few weeks ago - a game that saw him dismiss his elder brother, who earlier had the temerity to hit him for six.

Indeed, the only real surprise was the inclusion of John Crawley in the face of competition from Mark Ramprakash and Graeme Hick. Crawley is a fine and improving player, though one not always seen at his best in the frenetic strobe light of limited-overs cricket. What he can do however, is read wrist-spin and the selectors will be hoping he is on hand to prevent Shane Warne from stifling the middle part of the innings.

Unlike this time last year, when Alistair Brown filled the role, there is no specialist pinch-hitter to speak of, a legacy apparently of the movement to be found in pitches at this time of year. Instead, having received fitness assurances from both player and club, Nick Knight will resume the dashing role he had at the head of the order in New Zealand, before a shattered finger ended his tour.

He is joined by his Warwickshire team-mate Ashley Giles, the only other new face apart from the junior Hollioake. Giles purveyed his left-arm spin with distinction for England A in Australia. He can also bat, which gives him the edge over rivals such as Phil Tufnell and Richard Stemp.

After a winter learning how fickle international cricket can be, Chris Silverwood has been given a chance to build on the promise he showed in Zimbabwe. Since returning, he has strived to add a yard of pace. Unfortunately he has dropped his arm to achieve it. It is a trade-off that has resulted in less dot balls, which is not what one-day cricket is about.

With Darren Gough and Dean Headley likely to share the new ball, the seam bowling unit, bolstered by the in-form Phil DeFreitas, will have noted the Australian batsmen's current shakiness against the moving ball.

After the goings-on at Worcester yesterday, England's first squad of the summer, which assembles in Leeds later this afternoon, will be brimming with confidence. The difficulty will be keeping it that way.

England squad

TEXACO TROPHY (v Australia): Thursday: Headingley. Saturday: The Oval. Sunday: Lord's.

M A Atherton (Lancashire, capt) aged 29, 50 one-day internationals; N V Knight (Warwickshire) 27, 10; A J Stewart (Surrey, wicketkeeper) 34, 87; G P Thorpe (Surrey) 27, 36; J P Crawley (Lancashire) 25, 9; G D Lloyd (Lancashire) 27, 2; A J Hollioake (Surrey) 25, 2; M A Ealham (Kent) 27, 2; R D B Croft (Glamorgan) 26, 11; P A J DeFreitas (Derbyshire) 31, 101; D Gough (Yorkshire) 26, 35; D W Headley (Kent) 27, 2; C E W Silverwood (Yorkshire) 22, 5; A F Giles (Warwickshire) 24, 0; B C Hollioake (Surrey) 19, 0.