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Ashes tour diary: Adam Hollioake bolsters England’s Covid-depleted staff and Steve Smith’s lift fiasco

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  • Adam Hollioake
    Cricket player of England. (born 1971)
  • Graham Thorpe
    Cricket player of England. (born 1969)
  • Chris Silverwood
    English Test and county cricketer (born 1975)
  • Steve Smith
    Australian international cricketer

England have roped their former captain Adam Hollioake in to fill the void left by their isolating coaching staff. Hollioake is now a coach in Queensland, and worked with England Lions on their tour of Australia four years ago.

The former Surrey all-rounder has spent time cage-fighting in recent years, and will join the squad in the coming days subject to Covid testing, fulfilling Cricket Australia’s complicated “bridging protocols” – those required to bring people in from outside the bubble.

England are currently missing head coach Chris Silverwood, fast bowling coach Jon Lewis, spin coach Jeetan Patel, plus S&C Daz Veness. That leaves just Graham Thorpe, James Foster and Ant Botha with the team. Only Thorpe is a full-time ECB employee.

“He’s not just another set of hands,” said Thorpe, a long-time teammate. “He’s a good, philosophical guy who has had certain things go on in his life, so he’ll say, this is cricket, we’ll play to win, but can you get better?”

Hollioake, 50, played four Tests and 35 ODIs for England between 1997 and 1999.

Read the room

Gary Kirsten is clearly a very fine cricket coach, who did brilliantly with South Africa and India. But it is hard to believe he’s done himself any favours in landing the England job (at the third attempt) by expressing his interest before it is available, while the incumbent, Silverwood, is in isolation with a family member suffering from Covid-19.

Kirsten raises some fair points – the job is too big for one man, and should be split – and fair enough if he is answering questions at face value, but giving multiple interviews in the first place is not a great look.

Coming home

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

There were some nice tales from Thorpe remembering his time working at the SCG with New South Wales after his retirement as a player in 2005.

“It was a great life experience,” said Thorpe. “It was a wonderful opportunity to live and work in a different environment. I coached the ladies on a Thursday night, down at Balmain coaching kids at soccer, then working with the first and second team people like Davey Warner and Steve Smith seeing them when they were younger.”

What were those two like, then?

“They were not cut out the way they are now and and some of our players need to understand that,” he laughed. “I keep saying to Davey and Steve why don’t you get out for twenties and thirties like you used to?”

Lift off

Smith, by the way, went viral yesterday (no, not like that) when he became stuck in the lift at the team’s Melbourne hotel.

Just near his floor, the lift broke, meaning he was alone for almost an hour, which he documented with a series of entertaining Instagram stories. Always keen to help his hero, Marnus Labuschagne fed him M&Ms through the gap in the door. “Naughty,” was Smith’s reaction.

"Not quite the night I had planned, I'm currently stuck in a lift,” said Smith. "It's not much fun, I'm not really enjoying it in here.”

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