Former England batter Graham Thorpe ‘seriously ill’ in hospital

Graham Thorpe, the former England batter, is “seriously ill” in hospital, according to the Professional Cricketers’ Association.

Thorpe, 52, played 100 Tests for England between 1993 and 2005, averaging 44.66 with 16 centuries. He was recently announced as the new head coach of Afghanistan following a decade of involvement within England’s coaching set-up, which came to an end after this winter’s 4-0 Ashes loss in Australia.

A statement from the PCA, issued at the request of Thorpe’s family, read: “Graham Thorpe has recently fallen seriously ill and is currently in hospital receiving treatment. His prognosis is unclear at this stage and we ask for privacy for him and his family at this time. Our thoughts are with Graham and his family.”

Thorpe’s former county Surrey, where he spent the whole of his 17-year first-class career, added: “The thoughts of everyone at the Club are with Graham, his wife Amanda, and family at this time. He is an icon of the English game, known by millions of cricket fans and forever a favourite son of Surrey CCC.”

After a century on debut against Australia at Trent Bridge, Thorpe soon established himself as one of the central figures of England’s Test team in the mid-1990s and early 2000s, with his selfless counterattacking style helping the team to emerge from the doldrums to become, by the time of his final Test against Bangladesh in June 2005, a side ready to compete on an equal footing with Ricky Ponting’s Australia in that summer’s legendary Ashes series.

Thorpe’s own zenith came in the winter of 2000-01, when he was instrumental in England’s back-to-back series wins in Pakistan and Sri Lanka – to this day one of the team’s finest achievements.

At Lahore in the first Test of that winter, he memorably compiled a century containing a solitary boundary, to lay the foundation for a 1-0 series win that he himself went on to seal in virtual darkness in Karachi later that tour.

Then, three months later in the oppressive heat of Colombo, his twin innings of 113 not out and 32 not out carried England to a come-from-behind series victory against Sri Lanka, an achievement all the more impressive given they had succumbed to an innings defeat in the first Test in Galle.

After retirement, he moved into coaching after a brief spell in the media, and after a stint with New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield in 2007, he joined the England set-up in 2010, initially as batting coach and later as assistant coach to Chris Silverwood, for whom he stepped in at Sydney this winter when Silverwood had to isolate following a Covid diagnosis.

That role ended earlier this year when he, Silverwood and Ashley Giles, the former director of cricket, were all sacked in the wake of the Ashes loss. Thorpe’s own position had come under scrutiny after England’s defeat in the fifth Test, after the police were called in to break up an early-morning drinking session, involving several England and Australia players, at the team hotel in Hobart – allegedly after Thorpe had lit a cigar in an indoor space, which is against the law in Tasmania.

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