Adam Hollioake quit cricket after death of brother – now he’s coaching England

The tour party has been all but broken over the past week, hit by Australia on the pitch and Covid off it, but if ever there was a man to lift things, it would be Adam Hollioake.

The former international cricketer, turned boxer, turned MMA fighter, turned cricket coach has lived the fullest of lives and has the sort of perspective that no one would want to get the way he did, but is well worth listening too.

Hollioake of course lost his younger brother and fellow international cricketer Ben almost 20 years ago in 2002 before he then retired from the game in 2004, after the profound effect the tragic accident had on him.

Ben, one of the most exciting young cricketers of his generation, was killed in a car crash aged 24 on a freeway near his childhood school in Perth, Australia.

But Hollioake admits that after a period in which he railed against the game, he is now thrilled to be so heavily involved again working with Queensland cricket and this latest call up to help the England team is an unexpected bonus.

“For me it has been a strange journey because the truth is that when I retired aged 31 after my brother died, I just fell out of love with the game,” said Hollioake, now 50.

“I went away from it and just went looking for other things to do and to get involved with, but now I have come full circle and am back in love with it again.

“I don’t know why that is and how it has happened this way but it has. I’m sure there is a psychological explanation for it.

“I couldn’t get away from the game fast enough back in 2004, but now I just love it again and love being involved, so to even be considered to be a small part of this Ashes tour is an honour.

“I love coaching Queensland as well, but my heart is with England, well, Surrey and England, so to be asked to help out is just really special and I’ll be trying to help where I can.”

The former all rounder has done some work for the ECB in the past such as with age group sides and with the Lions on a previous tour to Australia in 2017.

But this is the first time he will be working with the senior squad and his former Surrey teammate Graham Thorpe who is in charge in the absence of Chris Silverwood is in no doubt that he’s got hold of a good man to help out this week.

“He’s not just another set of hands,” said Thorpe. “He knows the group of players as well, and will be comfortable in the dressing room.

“He’s a pretty 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? I know him really well and he’ll be a good guy to get in.”

Crucially Hollioake is not one to get too down about cricket, knowing it is important but that there is more to life than leather on willow.

He will bring a freshness that this England squad badly need, while hoping to help push them towards some late series success.

“I do think that sometimes when you get on a bad run, sometimes a fresh face or an injection of energy can just help change the momentum a bit,” Hollioake added.

“If I can help them do that then great, and if they change the momentum then that might be all they need to have some success.

“It might not take much for things to get really close and if they leave here having won the last two Tests then that’s not bad at all is it?”

Positivity flowing already.

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