The Realm’s England XI – 4. Graeme Hick

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We’re picking an England XI comprising the players we invested in the most.

Graeme Hick was the best batsman in the world and he was going to play for England and England were going to have the best batsman in the world and WHY AREN’T YOU THE BEST BATSMAN IN THE WORLD?

And oh, wait, maybe he needs to settle in a bit and ease into Test cricket, that last innings was promising. Probably once he’s feeling more secure he’ll unveil the full extent of his talent and WHY HAVE YOU DROPPED GRAEME HICK AGAIN?

And okay, he’s back, he’s got another chance and he’s averaging just over 40 this series, so that means he’s an averaging-over-40 kind of player and he’ll probably go from strength to strength from now on and that last match was just an aberration and WHY HAVE YOU DROPPED HIM AGAIN?

Why have you dropped him and picked Mark Ramprakash who is clearly – CLEARLY – not cut out for Test cricket?

12 comments

  1. Hick was so frustrating to support but I never ever wanted someone to succeed like I wanted him to. Every year he was so good for Worcs (according to my Playfair annual, anyway), and then for England, almost, maybe, sometimes, not quite.

    I am still annoyed about that time Athers declared on him in Sydney. I don’t care if I was a fair thing to do.

    And then there was that dreadful tour of India (the Blakey one), where, IIRC, Hick was the best batsman, bowler and fielder (mostly because everyone else was truly awful).

    And that perplexed look he always had on his face when Waqar had cleaned him up, again.

    Never wanted a player to succeed like I wanted Hick to until Bell came along.

    And yeah, never felt the same way about Ramps. Until I wanted him back in the team when he was about 40.

    1. Good comment about Bell, I reckon if Hick has played a decade later as has the support Bell, despite finishing returns did he would have done far better. A

      I still remember his 400 at Taunton

  2. Ditto to the above from daneel. As evidence of my invested-ness in Hick I recall chasing my younger brother into the garden and viciously beating him around the ribs with one of those plastic tennis rackets when he sniggered at the great man being out lbw to Brian McMillan immediately after belting a couple of fours. Hick fans instinctively knew this second innings failure in an England defeat would trigger the annual midsummer dropping, but on this occasion they actually kept him in the team and he scored a load of runs in the final two tests.

  3. My perspective has always been: bit of a flat track bully. Never really had the game for dealing with test class pace bowling, especially in the era he played.

    1. Yeah. He just wasn’t good enough for whatever reason. Hussain did better than him with seemingly less ability. He never captured my imagination. Though he was awesome at county level and England selection back then was absurd. But he did play 65 tests and averaged 31.

      If we’re talking stylish Worcestershire batsmen/offie bowlers that people get emotionally attached to, he’s no Moeen Ali in my book…
      Averages 28 with the bat but 160 more wickets. And is just cooler in every way.

      Maybe he’s coming later in the team. He’d be in my XI!!

      1. Moeen Ali seemed to crop up in everybody’s XI a few articles back. Surely His Maj wouldn’t disappoint us all like that? Surely? That’s not his style at all.

      2. I wouldn’t have said “Flat Track Bully”. He had the game, maybe not the mentality. Illingworth apparently telling him he was soft. I don’t think England cricket in the 90s was any place for talented enigmas . Hence why Nass did much better and Ronnie Irani would get selected

  4. Hah. Well, of course! The King marches to the beat of his own drum. And doesn’t do requests.

  5. I don’t think I quite agree with the “flat track bully, not good enough against high-class bowling” motif.

    I too was heavily invested in Hick although I my “emotional stop loss” trigger was probably at a higher price, given my antiquity and the wisdom that inevitably flows therefrom. 😉

    Hick’s biggest problem, as I perceived it, was a cultural mismatch with big cities and big heaving crowds. He was a small town boy who felt at home in Worcester; a rural, village-like city. The big time made him instinctively nervous and we all know what excessive nerves and tension can do to talent.

    In a more modern era, perhaps more cerebral coaching and management would have helped him to solve that problem and the related ones. But perhaps he would have vanished into “one level below” obscurity even as a youngster, as T20 and the like exposes young players to those aspects of the game earlier now, in domestic and franchise competitions.

    I think we should entertain the possibility that he is a very good coach. I think it is a shame that he has not been involved in the England set up, but instead has worked for “The Dark Side” these last few years.

  6. Summer 1993; after his early test career had been picked apart by Ambrose, Walsh, Younis, Akram, etc it looked like Hick was finally transferring his county form to test level. His previous ten tests had yielded scores of 64, 0, 178, 47, 68, 26, 34, 22, 20, 64.

    Unfortunately England were on a streak of losing seven successive tests and were 2-0 down in the Ashes, so changes were needed. Lots of changes. Including getting rid of the batsman who was making runs.

    Which probably means I still haven’t forgiven the selectors! Still, at least when the squads were named it felt like there was always going to be something interesting to discuss…

  7. The best thing, of many great things, about England in the 90s was how they managed to bring the absolute worst out of so many different types of player. Hick, Malcolm, Ramprakash, three completely different personalities, but all equally unable to deal with being alternately vitally important, dropped, publicly criticised, ignored, vitally important, and on and on.

    Or maybe England just weren’t that good.

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