Former England captain Adam Hollioake in Kabul yesterday 

Former England captain Adam Hollioake says he would return to Kabul "in a heartbeat" despite feeling the blast when a suicide bomber blew himself up just yards from a Twenty20 tournament in the Afghan capital.

Hollioake, who is coaching one of six teams in Afghanistan’s domestic Shpageeza Cricket League, heard a "loud bang" three overs into the second innings of the match between his Bost Defenders and rivals Mis-e-Ainak Knights on September 13. "I thought it was a big firecracker or something," the Australian-born Hollioake told AFP this week as his players warmed up for their semi-final match.

"But then when we had the after-effect... I could feel the vibration of the blast go through my body. When I saw a couple of the players... actually sprinting off the pitch I realised it was serious."

Three people including a policeman were killed and five others were wounded. No one inside the cricket ground was wounded.

The explosion on Day Three of the tournament rattled foreign players, coaches and commentators and some left Afghanistan in fear -- including the three foreigners playing for the Bost Defenders. But Hollioake decided to stay after receiving assurances from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani that security for the foreign visitors would be tightened. "I didn’t want to just walk out on the job," said Hollioake whose younger brother Ben was tragically killed in a car accident in the Australian city of Perth in 2002, cutting short his own international cricketing career. "At the end of the day the security worked," he added.