Perth: At 43, one would have expected Adam Hollioake to have mellowed down a bit from the aggressive attitude he held as England's ODI cricket captain that saw him lead his country to victory in the 1997 Champions Trophy in Sharjah, then England's first tournament success in a decade. However, he's far from calm. "England are playing a load of rubbish," Hollioake, now settled in Brisbane, told mid-day yesterday.
England captain Adam Hollioake kisses the Champions Trophy at Sharjah in 1997. Pic/Getty Images
"England will need a miracle to win this World Cup. They're just not playing well at the moment. They are not looking confident at all and that's the reason they lost so badly in their first two matches (lost to Australia by 111 runs and lost to New Zealand by eight wickets). They have not done well in both the batting as well as bowling departments, so I don't see them going very far in this tournament," added former all-rounder Hollioake, who played four Tests and 35 ODIs for England of which he led in 14 one-dayers.
When reminded that England beat India not once but twice in the tri-series that preceded the World Cup, the former Surrey captain shot back: "Yes, but that's the way it has always been with sub-continent teams. They find it difficult to play in Australian conditions. India played the ODIs after a short break following the Test series and struggled."
'Well done, India'
Hollioake went on to praise MS Dhoni's Team India. "I've been impressed with the way India have regrouped so quickly (after the tri-series) and emerged to beat teams like Pakistan and then South Africa so comprehensively," he added.
Australia is his pick as the tournament's favourite, though. "Australia are playing brilliantly at the moment. They are best suited for these conditions and besides their on-field cricket skills, they have an emotional motivation to do well too — for their late teammate Phil Hughes. I think they will win this World Cup,"