Graeme Hick

Graeme Hick

Post by Allan Lazra » Tue, 18 May 2004 01:18:29


For many years, Graeme Hick did not live up to his true potential
at the Test match level. He left a lot of his fans wondering at
'what might have been' possible had he converted those FC scores
into Test match runs. Here's an article by Andrew Miller wherein
he describes Graeme Hick's innings against the New Zealanders as
a throwback that will have the New Road faithful rheumy-eyed.
He also says that, "Rather than being a flat-track bully, maybe
Hick would be better described as a flat-atmosphere bully."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The enigmatic Mr Hick
by
Andrew Miller

May 13, 2004

Brian Lara's quadruple-century against England last month may have
been the definitive second coming, but down at Worcester last week,
there was another, lower-profile, but equally astonishing return to
prominence - one which has reawakened a debate that most observers had
shelved at the turn of the millennium.

It has been a full three years since the plug was pulled on Graeme
Hick's international career, but his brutal unbeaten 204 against the
New Zealand tourists on Monday has sent the psychologists scurrying
for their cobwebbed case histories. Within the fortnight, Hick will
have turned 38, and after an injury-blighted season in 2003, one
wondered how much longer he would be able to motivate himself. On this
evidence, and judging by the three sharp slip catches he inhaled
against Lancashire in the Championship on Wednesday, he will be
striding forward into a fifth decade with the sort of confidence he
could never display at Test level.

Hick's innings was a throwback that will have had the New Road
faithful rheumy-eyed, for massive hundreds against newly arrived
touring sides have long been a feature of his game. In 1996, he
clobbered the Indians for 215 of the best; three years earlier he had
taken 182 off the 1993 Australians, even if it later transpired that
the young Shane Warne had kept most of his tricks up his sleeves. But
the best of the lot came in 1988, when Hick cracked 172 off a West
Indian attack that included Patrick Patterson, Curtly Ambrose,
Courtney Walsh and Ian Bishop.

For seasoned Hickologists, that innings is perhaps the most
significant he has ever played. Not only was it definitive proof that
he could take on fast bowling of the highest quality, he had also
played it in the knowledge that a score of 153 or more would enable
him to pass 1000 runs before the end of May, a feat that no-one had
achieved since Glenn Turner in 1973. As Sir Roger Bannister would
testify, racing against the clock creates a pressure all of its own.

So what does this week's onslaught against the New Zealanders prove?
Hick's detractors would claim that - once again - he has demonstrated
himself to be a flat-track bully, and it is a sweet irony that the man
who first provided him with that label, John Bracewell, is now New
Zealand's coach. But Bracewell would be deluding himself if he still
believed that were the case. Not only are New Zealand's bowlers fully
equipped to exploit English early-season conditions, they have players
of the quality and variety of Shane Bond and Daniel Vettori to do so,
as well as a burning - almost Australian - desire to conquer all
before them this summer. If Hick's hitting hasn't set their
preparations back a notch, then nothing will.

Rather than being a flat-track bully, maybe Hick would be better
described as a flat-atmosphere bully. As the son of a tobacco farmer
from Zimbabwe, he has never been one to seek the limelight, so it is
little wonder that Worcestershire - with its riverside location and
past***cathedral backdrop - has provided him with the perfect
home-from-home for the past 20 years. At New Road, the world is
watching only through the mediums of binoculars and hearsay, rather
than the all-too-public gaze of the multi-angle slo-mo replay.

That line of thought begs the question - how good would Hick have been
had he played his international cricket for his native Zimbabwe? That
is not to question his commitment to England's cause in any way, but
somehow one imagines that his tally of six Test hundreds in 65 matches
would have been all the greater if he had played the bulk of his
matches in the tranquil, jacaranda-lined atmosphere of the Harare
Sports Club.

Playing for Zimbabwe would also have enabled Hick to travel as a
curiosity, rather than a reluctant trump card. After seven years of
being built up as English cricket's Great White Hope, he had become a
marked man by the time his debut arrived. In his first three years of
Test cricket, he was tormented by two alltime greats in Curtly Ambrose
and Waqar Younis, and one champion sledger in Australia's Merv Hughes,
whose lasting impact is summed up by one of***ie Bird's favourite
yarns. "Mervyn!" said***ie during the 1993 Ashes. "Your language is
terrible - what's that nice Mr Hick ever done to you?"

That nice Mr Hick did his utmost to battle back from his early
indignities, and he averaged more than 45 for three years after his
breakthrough century against India in 1992-93. But mud sticks, and so
does a career average that slips further from salvation with every new
failure. Once his form deserted him in 1996, Hick was jettisoned for
the next 23 Tests, which encompassed an Ashes summer, a West Indian
winter, and perhaps most galling, a maiden Test tour of Zimbabwe. We
will never now know whether his home comforts would have inspired him
(and a generally listless England team) to greater deeds.

He did at least have one trip to Zimbabwe, with the one-day squad in
1999-2000, where his returns for the series were undeniably
impressive. He opened up with 87 not out at Bulawayo, and closed with
80 and a career-best 5 for 33 with his perpetually underused offspin.
In fact, Hick's one-day career is the only lasting clue as to the
depth of his international potential - had it not been for the
preoccupation with his Test average, he might well have been
acknowledged as England's best one-day batsman of the 1990s.

Big-match pressures are every bit as obvious in one-day cricket - more
so in many parts of the world - but it is also a more forgiving form
of the game, in which instinct and enterprise are rewarded and
careless dismissals are quickly forgotten. Even Ambrose and Co. were
taken to the cleaners with an unbeaten 86 in only Hick's third match,
while the most mealy-mouthed of Aussies would have to concede their
grudging admiration for his three centuries in four innings in the
1998-99 one-day triangular. He was dropped for good at the end of a
disappointing winter in 2000-01, but there was a case for his
inclusion in last year's World Cup squad, even if he was 36.

And, whisper it softly, there is still a case for his inclusion in the
one-day squad. Powerful hitters with a proven reputation in the middle
order, a safe pair of hands at slip, and a World Cup final appearance
under their belts? They are not exactly two-a-penny in English
cricket.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Andrew Miller is assistant editor of Wisden Cricinfo.
From http://SportToday.org/

 
 
 

Graeme Hick

Post by CiL » Tue, 18 May 2004 02:26:45



Quote:
>Rather than being a flat-track bully, maybe Hick would be better
>described as a flat-atmosphere bully. As the son of a tobacco farmer
>from Zimbabwe, he has never been one to seek the limelight, so it is
>little wonder that Worcestershire - with its riverside location and
>past***cathedral backdrop - has provided him with the perfect
>home-from-home for the past 20 years. At New Road, the world is
>watching only through the mediums of binoculars and hearsay, rather
>than the all-too-public gaze of the multi-angle slo-mo replay.

>That line of thought begs the question - how good would Hick have been
>had he played his international cricket for his native Zimbabwe? That
>is not to question his commitment to England's cause in any way, but
>somehow one imagines that his tally of six Test hundreds in 65 matches
>would have been all the greater if he had played the bulk of his
>matches in the tranquil, jacaranda-lined atmosphere of the Harare
>Sports Club.

I can't forget a imagery of Hick; Once he  got out to Venky (prasad's)
bouncer, a mere 130 k speed stuff and as that bounced slowly up from
middle of the pitch, some years back, Hick on his front foot, unable
to shift his balance to the back, jus tentatively in desparation,
flashed out a weak hook shot much like Kambli, top edge flying to
skies and disaster coming down to long leg's hands. As he walked back
that day with a countenance displaying chaos, anger, shame I knew he
would never make it big in international cricket.

one wonders as the author of the article says how he would have fared
playing for Zim...

CiL
anyway under the current racist policies, he would have been asked to
leave I guess....

 
 
 

Graeme Hick

Post by Robbert ter Har » Tue, 18 May 2004 03:02:00

I was hopinmg someone would repost this.

<snip>

Quote:
> And, whisper it softly, there is still a case for his inclusion in the
> one-day squad. Powerful hitters with a proven reputation in the middle
> order, a safe pair of hands at slip, and a World Cup final appearance
> under their belts? They are not exactly two-a-penny in English
> cricket.

This may sound a bit ridiculous, but look at Englands last line-up in an
ODI:
Tresco
Vaughan
Strauss
Clarke
Freddie
Collingwood
Read

This is not comforting. England need another stable performer in the middle
order and I am not at all sure if Strauss or Clarke can fill that role.

OTOH, earlier today:

Worcs v Durham
GA Hick c Pattison b Shoaib Akhtar 0 (3)

Cheers,

RtH

Quote:
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----
> Andrew Miller is assistant editor of Wisden Cricinfo.
> From

http://ind.cricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/CRICKET_NEWS/2004/MAY/144759_COL-E...
13MAY2004.html

 
 
 

Graeme Hick

Post by Jan Buxto » Tue, 18 May 2004 03:32:53



Quote:
> OTOH, earlier today:

> Worcs v Durham
> GA Hick c Pattison b Shoaib Akhtar 0 (3)

Also in the same game,

*PD Collingwood       not out                                 102  82
74  9 2

--
Jan

 
 
 

Graeme Hick

Post by Robbert ter Har » Tue, 18 May 2004 16:27:36



Quote:


> > OTOH, earlier today:

> > Worcs v Durham
> > GA Hick c Pattison b Shoaib Akhtar 0 (3)

> Also in the same game,

> *PD Collingwood       not out                                 102  82
> 74  9 2

> --
> Jan

I know. But I have great confidence in Collingwood. It's Strauss and
particularly Clarke I'm not sure about. Add to that Vaughans continuing
inability to score meaningful runs in one-day matches and the batting order
I posted looks shaky.

Cheers,

RtH

 
 
 

Graeme Hick

Post by Simon Pleasant » Tue, 18 May 2004 22:50:27

On Sun, 16 May 2004 18:02:00 GMT, "Robbert ter Hart"

Quote:

>This may sound a bit ridiculous, but look at Englands last line-up in an
>ODI:
>Tresco
>Vaughan
>Strauss
>Clarke
>Freddie
>Collingwood
>Read

>This is not comforting. England need another stable performer in the middle
>order and I am not at all sure if Strauss or Clarke can fill that role.

The odd thing about that is the lack of Thorpe.  Has he declared
himself unavailable for ODI cricket?  If anyone can claim to be the
most consistently good ODI player for England in the last decade then
it must be him, despite the fireworks of Nick Knight's comparatively
brief career.
 
 
 

Graeme Hick

Post by Robbert ter Har » Tue, 18 May 2004 23:39:52



Quote:
> On Sun, 16 May 2004 18:02:00 GMT, "Robbert ter Hart"

> >This may sound a bit ridiculous, but look at Englands last line-up in an
> >ODI:
> >Tresco
> >Vaughan
> >Strauss
> >Clarke
> >Freddie
> >Collingwood
> >Read

> >This is not comforting. England need another stable performer in the
middle
> >order and I am not at all sure if Strauss or Clarke can fill that role.

> The odd thing about that is the lack of Thorpe.  Has he declared
> himself unavailable for ODI cricket?

I'm pretty sure he has.

RtH

 
 
 

Graeme Hick

Post by Jan Buxto » Wed, 19 May 2004 00:15:37


Quote:

> The odd thing about that is the lack of Thorpe.  Has he declared
> himself unavailable for ODI cricket?

He wouldn't be considered (like Butcher) even if he is/was available.
The idea being to save them for Tests. Not playing ODIs also minimises
the amount of time away from home, which must be a consideration when
dealing with Thorpe.

Quote:
>  If anyone can claim to be the
> most consistently good ODI player for England in the last decade then
> it must be him, despite the fireworks of Nick Knight's comparatively
> brief career.

Mmm...

No. of Matches
Hick 120
Knight 100
Thorpe 82

Batting Average
Knight 40.41
Hick 37.33
Thorpe 37.18

Batting SR
Hick 74.08
Knight 71.52
Thorpe 71.17

No. of 100s
Hick 5
Knight 5
Thorpe 0

--
Jan

 
 
 

Graeme Hick

Post by Glenn Banwel » Wed, 19 May 2004 03:00:19

Hick's *real* problem was engineered not by opposition bowlers but by the
England selection policy.

He always felt he was playing for his place.

I'd have liked to have seen the selectors say, at the start of an English
summer, "ok Hicky, you're in the side for the whole of the summer and you're
guaranteed to be in the touring party for the winter".

All of a sudden, that pressure of playing for his place has gone because he
knows he's guaranteed a spot.

 
 
 

Graeme Hick

Post by The Cricket Nu » Wed, 19 May 2004 05:17:59



Quote:





> > > OTOH, earlier today:

> > > Worcs v Durham
> > > GA Hick c Pattison b Shoaib Akhtar 0 (3)

> > Also in the same game,

> > *PD Collingwood       not out                                 102  82
> > 74  9 2

> > --
> > Jan

> I know. But I have great confidence in Collingwood. It's Strauss and
> particularly Clarke I'm not sure about. Add to that Vaughans continuing
> inability to score meaningful runs in one-day matches and the batting order
> I posted looks shaky.

And, now Vaughan's injured. See
http://www.cricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/CRICKET_NEWS/2004/MAY/148516_ENGNZ...

-The Cricket Nut

 
 
 

Graeme Hick

Post by Simon Pleasant » Wed, 19 May 2004 19:19:27

On Mon, 17 May 2004 18:00:19 GMT, "Glenn Banwell"

Quote:

>Hick's *real* problem was engineered not by opposition bowlers but by the
>England selection policy.

>He always felt he was playing for his place.

>I'd have liked to have seen the selectors say, at the start of an English
>summer, "ok Hicky, you're in the side for the whole of the summer and you're
>guaranteed to be in the touring party for the winter".

>All of a sudden, that pressure of playing for his place has gone because he
>knows he's guaranteed a spot.

Have a look at the tail end of his test career.  You'll notice that he
was kept on for a long time whilst not performing.  But in the end his
performances were so bad they just could not keep him going.  In his
last ten matches he achieved the following:

Mat  Runs  HS   BatAv 100  50   W    BB  BowlAv 5w  Ct St
10   277  59   14.57   0   1   1  1/42   50.00  0  12  0

The current top order have had a relatively lean time in their last
ten matches too, all but one of those having been played on foreign
tours, but even so their stats look very favourable compared to Hick's
last ten.

Mat  Runs  HS   BatAv 100  50   W    BB  BowlAv 5w  Ct St
Vaughan
10   710 140   39.44   2   3   0   -       -    0   6  0
Trescothick
10   827 219   48.64   2   4   0   -       -    0  18  0
Butcher
10   579  61   36.18   0   6   0   -       -    0   8  0
Hussain
10   625 116   34.72   1   5   -   -       -    -   6  0
Thorpe
10   717 124   55.15   2   4   -   -       -    -   5  0
Flintoff
10   573 102*  38.20   1   4  29  5/58   30.41  1   7  0

 
 
 

Graeme Hick

Post by Mad Hamis » Wed, 19 May 2004 20:26:31

On Mon, 17 May 2004 18:00:19 GMT, "Glenn Banwell"

Quote:

>Hick's *real* problem was engineered not by opposition bowlers but by the
>England selection policy.

>He always felt he was playing for his place.

>I'd have liked to have seen the selectors say, at the start of an English
>summer, "ok Hicky, you're in the side for the whole of the summer and you're
>guaranteed to be in the touring party for the winter".

>All of a sudden, that pressure of playing for his place has gone because he
>knows he's guaranteed a spot.

have a look at how many matches he played in vs being left out for
between 91/92 and 96
--
"Hope is replaced by fear and dreams by survival, most of us get by."
Stuart Adamson 1958-2001

Mad Hamish
Hamish Laws

 
 
 

Graeme Hick

Post by Mike Holman » Thu, 20 May 2004 00:46:49

On Tue, 18 May 2004 21:26:31 +1000, Mad Hamish

forth:

Quote:
>On Mon, 17 May 2004 18:00:19 GMT, "Glenn Banwell"

>>Hick's *real* problem was engineered not by opposition bowlers but by the
>>England selection policy.

>>He always felt he was playing for his place.

>>I'd have liked to have seen the selectors say, at the start of an English
>>summer, "ok Hicky, you're in the side for the whole of the summer and you're
>>guaranteed to be in the touring party for the winter".

>>All of a sudden, that pressure of playing for his place has gone because he
>>knows he's guaranteed a spot.

>have a look at how many matches he played in vs being left out for
>between 91/92 and 96

And don't forget that he missed a number of matches through injury
rather than being dropped.

It was nothing to do with him playing for his place; his place was
basically assured. What he couldn't do was live up to the expectations
that his years of ineligibility while qualifying had created; he'd
been the first guy to score a 400 in English cricket in about 100
years, marmalised every county attack going, and generally performed
as though he was about to be the next Bradperson. Funnily enough, he
was only a very good player, not the best player to have emerged in 60
years, and his failing to average 60+ from the word go meant that he
was always seen to be a disappointment. That sort of thing screws your
head up, and he wasn't really able to cope with it.

You can point at some technical flaws and one or two other things, but
they don't explain why he didn't become a star: that's down to what
was going on in his head.

Cheers,

Mike