Wednesday, 21 October 2015



Graeme Ashley Hick (born 23 May 1966), he is belong Zimbabwean, who played 65 Test matches and 120 One Day Internationals for England. He played county cricket for Worcestershire for his entire English domestic career, a period of well over twenty years, and in 2008 he surpassed Graham Gooch's record for the most matches in all forms of the game combined. He scored more than 40,000 first class runs, mostly from number three in the order, and he is one of only three players to have passed 20,000 runs in List A cricket Graham Gooch and Sachin Tendulkar are the others and is one of only twenty five players to have scored 100 centuries in first class cricket. He is the only cricketer who scored first class triple hundreds in three different decades ''1988, 1997 and 2002''. Despite these achievements, he is commonly held to have underachieved in international cricket, a view based on comparison of Graeme Hick's overall first class batting average of 52.23, his Test average of 31.32. At one time Graeme Hick's bowling was a significant force, and his off spin claimed more than 200 first class wickets. However, after 2001 he rarely bowled, and took only one first class and two List A wickets, indeed, after the 2004 season he did not bowl a single ball in either form of the game. Throughout his career he was an outstanding slip fielder: Gooch wrote in his autobiography that his ideal slip cordon would comprise Mark Taylor, Ian Botham and HickGraeme Hick was granted a benefit season by Worcestershire in 1999, which raised over 345,000, he was also awarded a testimonialin 2006. Graeme Hick retired from county cricket at the end of the 2008 season, to take up a coaching post at Malvern College. For the remaining part of the season, he joined Chandigarh Lions of the ICL.


Born in Salisbury, Rhodesia 'now HarareZimbabwe' into a tobacco farming family, Graeme Hick was at first more interested in hockey than cricket, and indeed went on to play for the national schools hockey team. He was also more of a bowler than a batsman, but in 1979 he began to make big scores regularly, averaging 185 for the school side. He suffered from a mild form of meningitis in 1980, but he nevertheless progressed to become captain of the national Junior Schools team, and before long to play for the Senior Schools side. Aged just 16, Graeme Hick played three minor one day games for Zimbabwe Colts and Zimbabwe Country Districts against Young Australia in 1982-83. He had no success with the bat, being dismissed for 0, 2 and 1, although he did bowl Dean Jones in the second match at Mutare. Graeme Hick was included in the Zimbabwe an squad for the 1983 World Cup, the youngest player ever to achieve such a status, but was not selected to play in the tournament. The following Zimbabwean season, on 7 October 1983, Graeme Hick made his first class debut for Zimbabwe against Young West Indies at Harare. Coming in at number eight in the first innings, he hit 28 not out to help set up a narrow three wicket victory. Eight days later Graeme Hick made his List A debut against the same opponents, batting one place lower still and making 16* in a game decided ''in Zimbabwe's favour'' on run rateIn 1984, Hick came to England on a scholarship from the Zimbabwe Cricket Union. For Worcestershire's Second XI he was impressive: he twice took five wickets in an innings, and a prolific sequence of 195, 0, 170 and 186 gained him a first team debut against Surrey in the last match of the 1984 County Championship. Worcestershire declared in their first innings, and Graeme Hick did not get to bat, but in the second coming in at nine he made 82*. He also played club cricket for Kidder minster in the Birmingham League. He hit 1,234 runs for the club that year, a Kidder minster record. Graeme Hick spent the winter playing for Zimbabwe, his highest scores being 95 and 88 in separate matches against Young New Zealand. Hick's good year in 1984 encouraged him to continue playing in England, and in the English summer that followed, Zimbabwe toured England, and Graeme Hick played both for them and for his county. He enjoyed a successful season, ending with a batting average of 52.70, and scoring his first century 230 for the Zimbabweans against Oxford University. This was to be the first of six successive English seasons in which Hick averaged more than fifty in first class cricket. By the time the 1986 season was out, the possibility of Graeme Hick's playing at Test level was being taken seriously, and the debate was shifting from whether he would play international cricket to which country he would represent At the time, Zimbabwe seemed a long way from Test status, so he set himself instead to fulfil the residency requirements for England qualification, and despite an offer of a four year qualification period from New Zealand he opted to take the longer path of a seven year wait to play for his newly adopted home. By the time he became eligible, public interest in his seeming destiny as a great batsman for country as well as county was intense David Lloyd was later to write that he doubted "any cricketer ever come into the international game burdened by such impossible expectations". Hick's Worcestershire team mate Graham Dilley had been in no doubt that he would succeed, perhaps ironically given what was to follow writing that Hick exerted "psychological pressure on the bowlers, like Viv Richards or Javed Miandad''. Graeme Hick made his first appearances as an England batsman in a three match ODI series against West Indies, the first being played at Edgbaston on 23 May 1991. He made only 14 in a low scoring game, but a few days later, in the third and final match of the series, he hit 86* and shared in a match winning stand of 213 with Neil Fair brother. The stage seemed set for Graeme Hick's Test debut at Headingley on 6 June, and Hick was even pictured on the cover of the Radio Times. He was given a hero's reception by the crowd as he came out to bat, but a tortured 51 minutes later he was back in the pavilion having made only six, and he could do no better in the second innings. After further innings of 0, 43, 0, 19 and 1 he was dropped before the last match of the series. Although Worcestershire did win the Benson &
Hedges Cup, in first class cricket Hick finished with an average for the season of just 32.91, which remains his lowest in any English summer. He then played all three Tests in New Zealand, but apart from a marathon bowling performance in the first innings at Wellington where he and Phil Tuf nell shared 140 overs almost equally Hick's 69/27/126/4 was to be his best in Tests, he again had little to smile about. Considerably more enjoyable for him was the 1992 World Cup which immediately followed: England reached the final, thanks in no small part to Hick's three half centuries. The most important of these came in the semi final against South Africa at the SCG. Although this game is now more often remembered for the rain related fiasco which left South Africa needing an impossible 22 runs from one ball, it was Graeme Hick's Man of the Match winning knock of 83, which made England's victory possible in the first place. He could not replicate it in the final, being lbw to Mushtaq Ahmed for 17. Graeme Hick finally made a Test half century, 51 against PakistanIn 1992,  but as with the West Indian series he was dropped before the end of the summer. This time at least he scored heavily for Worcestershire, averaging nearly seventy for his county. This domestic form, together with his ability against spin bowling, secured Hick a place on the 1992-93 tour of India, and in a generally disastrous tour for England ''they lost two Tests by an innings and the other by eight wickets'' he was one of the very few bright spots indeed, he topped both batting and bowling averages for his country, as well as scoring 249 runs in the six ODIs. The personal highlight for Hick was his long awaited maiden Test hundred 178 in the third Test at Bombay, he added another 47 in the second innings. He then scored 68 and 26 in the one off Test against Sri Lanka which immediately followed. For his achievements in the subcontinent, he was named one of Indian Cricket's five Cricketers of the Year in 1993. The Indian tour proved to be the start of by far the most successful period of Hick's Test career. At the end of 1992 his average was a mere 18.06, but by the end of the South African series just over three years later it had improved to a very respectable 38.66, his average over those three years alone was an impressive 46.44. In the first ODI of1993 Hick made 85, but in the first Ashes Test at Old Trafford, he was famously sledged by Merv Hughes, leading umpire Dickie Bird to ask him. "What has that nice Mr Hick ever done to you?" Hughes later commented that although he had been "a bit OTT with Hick"; he "only sledged batsmen respected". Despite scores of 34, 22, 20 and 64, Hick along with Mike Gatting was dropped after the second Test at Lord's the decision amazed Shane Warne. Graeme Hick was recalled for the sixth Test at The Oval and hit 80 and 36 in a 161 run England victory, giving him a series average of 42.66, behind only Gooch, Atherton and Thorpe among England's specialist batsmen in a series in which England used 24 players. A reasonable tour of West Indies followed, although Hick narrowly failed to make a maiden hundred against this opposition when he was dismissed for 96 in the Jamaican Test, and did not make a fifty in five ODI innings. Then came two short series against New Zealand and South Africa, he played in all six Tests and reached double figures in all ten innings, although he was not particularly successful against New Zealand, with a top score of only 58. Against the South Africans, however, he averaged over sixty, making 110 in the Second Test and a match winning 81* at a run a ball in England's dash to victory in the Third. He played in three of the four ODIs and failed in two of them, but made another 81 against South Africa. The 1994-95 Ashes series came to be known for one incident in particular. In the third Test at Sydney, England captain Mike Atherton had let it be known to his players that he intended to declare. Graeme Hick was nearing what would have been his first Ashes century, but Atherton felt he was scoring too slowly and that as a result the team were "dawdling". He took the decision to call the players in with Hick 98 not out. Graeme Hick was surprised and hurt not to be allowed to reach his hundred. Alec Stewart wrote later that his team mates "couldn't believe" the decision, and he felt that it "cost England dearly". Atherton admitted in his autobiography that although he still felt the declaration had been justified in strictly cricketing terms, he would not have taken such a decision again. Phil Tufnell felt similarly, saying that while there was a match to win, "a few of were also very sorry for Hick''. Jonathan Agnew's sympathies, however, lay with the captain, telling Atherton that his "conscience should be clear". Graeme Hick seemed to be overcoming his disappointment over the next few days, making a match winning 91 in a World Series Cup ODI a performance which lifted him to second behind only Brian Lara in the world rankings and following up with 143 in a four day game against Victoria. But he did not get a chance to make that Ashes century as lipped disc ended his tour just before the fourth Test. He never came so close to one again. Hick's injury and the declaration affair overshadowed what up to that point had been a somewhat mixed series as far as the Tests had been concerned in his other five innings he had been dismissed cheaply three times, but he had also made 80 at BrisbaneGraeme Hick seemed set fair for another productive season in 1996, especially after making 215 for Worcestershire against the Indians in May, but it was not to be. His form completely deserted him as he could manage just 35 runs in four innings against India, and when he was dismissed cheaply twice in the first Test against Pakistan the selectors had had enough and he was dropped from both Test and ODI teams, not to be selected again for a year and a half. Back at Worcestershire, he scored unevenly: immediately after his being dropped by England he made 148 and 86 against Kent, but he then endured a run of ten innings in all 
cricket without making more than 30, before hitting 54 and 106 against Gloucestershire in the penultimate Championship game of the season. For the first time since becoming eligible to play for England, Hick was omitted from the winter tour parties altogether, an omission particularly painful as the programme was to include not only a return to New Zealand but the first ever Tests between Zimbabwe and England. In the event Hick did play in the country, but only as part of Worcestershire's own tour, he took six wickets in their match against a Matabeleland Invitation XI in what must have been a bittersweet experience. The 1997 English season was the first for seven years in which Graeme Hick had no international duties to perform, and he averaged 69 in scoring over 1,500 first class runs, the highlight being an unbeaten 303 in the final match of the season against Hampshire, sharing in an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 438 with Tom Moody, an English record for that wicket and a Worcestershire record for any wicket. Graeme Hick was recalled to England duties for the Singer Akai Champions Trophy ODI series at Sharjah in December 1997, and in April 1998 for just the ODI portion of the West Indies series. He played in nine games altogether, but though he got starts on several occasions he never reached fifty. Graeme Hick began the 1998 season slowly and was left out of the England team at the start of the year, but he responded with four hundreds in successive first class innings in late May and early June. Although this form left him somewhat thereafter, he was nevertheless selected for the final two Tests against South Africa. A total of nine runs from three innings left his hopes of a place on the Ashes tour looking extremely shaky, but after two half centuries in ODIs and then 107 in the one off Test against Sri Lanka it seemed he might have done just enough. However, his century was outshone by John Crawley's 156 in the same innings and in the end it was the Lancashire man who got the nod. Hick was left at home, to console himself with the memory of the adulation of the Worcestershire crowd: in May at New Road he had made his hundredth first class century. Just before the first Test, however, Graeme Hick received an emergency call up officially as "reinforcement" rather than a replacement as Atherton was in severe pain from a chronic back problem ''ankylosing spondylitis''. Hick ended up playing in four Tests, but he had a rather poor series overall, averaging 25, although his defiant 68 in a losing cause at Perth stuck in the memory and his 39 and 60 contributed significantly to England's 12 run win at Melbourne even if Dean Headley's 6/60 was more remarked upon. In the ODIs against both Australia and Sri Lanka Graeme Hick did much better, making more than 500 runs including a fine run of 108, 66*, 126* and 109 in successive innings and being named England's Man of the Series. The 1999 World Cup was held in England, and after Hick's ODI achievements in Australia Allan Donald felt he would be the home team's danger man. David Lloyd also "strongly fancied to have a serious influence" on the competition, but he was frustrated by Hick's reluctance to accept a flexible batting order, only with considerable difficulty at a "frosty team meeting" getting him to agree to drop down from three when required. Despite Graeme Hick's uneasiness over the issue, and England's general incompetence in the tournament, he averaged 53, second only to Nasser Hussain, the only one of his team mates to average more than 30. Frustratingly for Hick, the series against New Zealand that followed contained no one dayers at all, and he was picked for only the third of the four Tests, making 12 in his only innings. It was no real surprise that he was picked for only the ODI part of the winter tour to South Africa and the Short ODI series in Zimbabwe which followed. He failed badly in South Africa ''averaging a desperate 12.40'' and by the time the Zimbabwe leg of the tour began he had not reached 30 in nine successive innings, by far the worst run of his ODI career, but 87*, 13 and 80, as well as an international career best 5, 33 in the last game against the Zimbabweans rescued his winter.


On what was to prove his last winter tours for England, of Kenya, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Graeme Hick played five Tests and six ODIs, but only twice were his contributions of real value. In an ODI at Karachi he came in at 13-2 and put on 114 with Hussain, then in the deciding Test at the same venue his 40 gave vital support to Graham Thorpe ''64*'' as England clinched a nail biting win in the face of Pakistani delaying tactics and light so bad that Alec Stewart said they "wouldn't have played in light like that for club games". Despite these bright spots, overall Graeme Hick's winter had been far from a success, and the Test series ended in early March with scores of 0 and 16 at Kandy. He took the field in Colombo only as a substitute, but still managed to incur a one match suspended ban for sledging. It was irrelevant: he never played Test cricket again. Later that month he played in the three ODIs against Sri Lanka, and in the last of them he top scored with 46. England, though, were crushed by ten wickets, and Hick's international playing days were at an end. By the time of his final eviction from the England team in 2000-01, Graeme Hick had already spent one summer as captain of Worcestershire, a post which he held for three seasons, 2000 to 2002 inclusive. He enjoyed the responsibility of captaincy, and was "surprised and disappointed" to be relieved of the position in favour of Ben Smith for the 2003 season. Graeme Hick's personal form during his captaincy was generally good, although his overall statistics in 2000, the first time he had failed to reach 1,000 runs since 1984, were depressed by his England travails, in the County Championship alone in those three summers he averaged 43.41, 60.43 and 52.58, and by making 200* at Durham he completed the set of having made first class hundreds against all 17 other counties, both home and away. In one day games the picture was somewhat more mixed, though in June 2001 he did make 155, his highest List A score for 14 years, against Hertfordshire in the C&G TrophyGraeme Hick suffered badly from injuries at this time. He had missed the very end of the 2002 season with a broken thumb, and newly returned to the ranks for 2003 he endured a summer to forget. He began solidly enough, with two centuries and four fifties in his first 14 innings in all cricket, but in early June he broke his hand and was unable to play for six weeks. At this point Hick was averaging 53 in first class cricket, but the 13 innings he played after his return in late July produced only 246 runs, leaving him with a season's average of just 33.50, his worst showing since the dark days of 
1991. 2004, however, saw him return to form with a vengeance, his 1,589 first class runs ''at 63.56'' his best aggregate since 1990 and the lowest of his four centuries being 158, and he was picked for the FICA World XI team in three one day games against New Zealand in January 2005, these matches having List A but not ODI status. The 2005 season saw Graeme Hick return to earth with a bump, enduring another very mixed year. A 176 and four further fifties in eight innings near the start of the summer was followed by an awful trot in which he batted 17 times without reaching 40, only 107 against Essex in the very last innings of the season saving his average from dropping below thirty for the first time ever. The following summer was much better, and he had the satisfaction first of scoring his hundredth century for Worcestershire, only the second man ''after Boycott'' since the war to achieve the feat for a single county, and then of helping Worcestershire to promotion in the last game of the Championship season, his 500th first class match scores of 70 and 30* against Northamptonshire taking him past 1,000 runs for the season. The previous month he had signed a 1 year extension to his county contract, having turned down an offer from Derbyshire. Graeme Hick commented. "My heart has always been with Worcestershire and I very much look forward to the next 12 months''. In January 2014 Hick was appointed high performance coach at Cricket Australia's centre of excellence.

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