Graeme Hick to help Australia
To which the less generous among you might say: “Again?”
We have mixed feelings about such jokes because we retain a great deal of affection for Graeme Hick. Many years ago, we spent a great deal of time desperately wishing he would turn the corner and start savaging Test attacks. We spent even longer unearthing flimsy evidence that this was actually happening:
“That 31 not out takes his average above 50 over the past eight months if you discount those two bad decisions against New Zealand.”
In a way, Hick is the man who taught us how hope will invariably become attached to at least one player in a poor team and how the beneficiary/victim is rarely the best player in that team. Instead, they tend to be inconsistent players who have experienced very occasional stellar highs. ‘When those aberrations become the norm…’ is the basic mentality. Only who’s to say they ever will?
It’s important to have something to cling to though, even when your team is manifestly dire, otherwise why would you follow any match? At certain times we need a player to look upon this way; someone who might just salvage things single-handed. You might even be able to think of some current cricketers who meet such a need.
We of course would never stoop to naming one, even in the unlikely event that there were some sort of a link to Graeme Hick’s new coaching role which would make for a satisfyingly rounded conclusion to this article.
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About Thorpey, that is.
On a different note entirely, Andrew Strauss’ wife Ruth appears to have entered the London Marathon using her maiden name.
There is no sign of a Ruth Strauss on the results section of the website, but there is a Ruth McDonald with a time of 4 hours 59 minutes.
Lord Straussy himself clocked an impressive 3 hours 31 mins.
While you were spending a great deal of time desperately wishing Hick would turn the corner and start savaging Test attacks, so were the English selectors. And they too spent their time unearthing flimsy evidence that this was actually happening, mostly from the county championship scores, but also from out of thin air, cloud cuckoo land, and out of their arses.
In this light, Hick is the perfect person to help Australian cricket deeper into – sorry, I mean out of – their current mess. He’ll be able to tell the young batsmen how to deal with the constant rejection of being dropped, and crucially, how to ensure that doesn’t make them a better player next time round. Patience is apparently what he’s there to teach – the patience that they’ll need while waiting for another test call up when they are palpably not good enough. He can show how an average barely creeping above 30 needn’t be a barrier to a long and unproductive test career.
So which Australian batsman are we looking towards to repeatedly produce glimmers of hope for a brighter future, only to see them cruelly extinguished again and again before they finally fade into failure and disappointment.
Phil Hughes? Steven Smith? Shane Watson? I hope it’s Shane Watson.
He’s supposed to be coaching patience. Why didn’t they give Chris TavarΓ© a call?
To be fair to Hick, he wasn’t exactly keeping anyone better out of the side. The only guy who was dropped prematurely was Robin Smith. Okay, maybe Creepy Crawley, too.
That’s exactly why they kept dropping and recalling him. If they had dropped him and someone better came into the side, as has happened in recent years with the likes of Ed Smith, he wouldn’t have found a way back in.
Ok, maybe Ed Smith is a bad example. Maybe James Taylor will eventually be a better name to slot into that sentence.
I remember a prescient conversation with some friends in the late 1980′s, at which time Hick was scoring runs for fun in the CC while qualifying for England.
The gist – all that talent will seem to evaporate as soon as he qualifies and plays for England.
The England system at that time squelched talent. Ramprakash is another example.
In both cases, the players had all the talent but lacked the swagger for the International scene. I’d wager that, had those two been born 15-20 years later, the current England system would have brought those two on, headwise and they both could have thrived as England players.
If mediocrity at the international level was a deterrent to selection, someone should explain to me how Mike Atherton had a long career.
This is how:
Basically, by outscoring almost everyone else over a 10 year period. Note the very similar records for Marks Waugh and Taylor. Were they mediocre too?
Yup, Atherton’s problem was his utter inability to play Glenn McGrath.
A serious flaw, but not mediocrity in general.
daneel, I concede the point. That list proves he’s also better than Tendulkar, Lara, and Aravinda de Silva because he outscored them. What’s an extra sixty innings after all?
Far from mediocre, that.
Is that your definition of mediocre? Everyone worse than Tendulkar and Lara?
Personally, I think anyone who averages less than Bradman is utter shite.
haha, never mind daneel. This might become one of those pointless internet arguments. I personally think Atherton’s 38 test average as an opener is pretty mediocre, but I also realize one cannot judge people by numbers alone and so would understand if you rate him highly. The only problem I have with lists like the one you quoted is they are a little misleading. Atherton clearly didn’t outscore anybody in the ten year frame – he just happened to play a lot more innings. That was my point, lost in a terrible attempt at sarcasm.
Heh. You’re probably right.
I wouldn’t claim he was great, but he was good.
I specifically mentioned Waugh(M) and Taylor because they were within 4 innings and 200 runs of Atherton.
Realistically, only five batsmen played a lot through the 90s, and only Waugh(S) stands out from the other 4.
More amusingly, over the period that Atherton played test cricket, absolutely nobody scored more runs (or batted in more innings, to be fair).
The biggest crime there is that Stewart only averaged 40 because that chump Ray Illingworth decided to change an opener averaging 47 into a keeper averaging 35, allowing us to drop a better keeper who averaged 27, and instead pick a whole slew of crap openers who could barely get into double figures.