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Hick: A talent that did not blossom - Renin Wilben Column
by Renin Wilben
Sep 04, 2008

When Graeme Hick retires at the end of this county season, it will bring an end to a glorious domestic career but an unfulfilled international one.

From being picked as a 17-year-old in the 1983 Zimbabwe World Cup squad till being axed from the international side in 2001, Hick's story has been one of ups and downs – with the former being more dominant. Post that he has had to be content at Worcestershire plundering hapless bowlers.

But then the great talent has himself to blame more than anyone else. Given the potential he possessed, a Test average of just over 31 was disappointing say the least. It just goes to prove that you need a lot more than just natural talent to succeed at the international arena. In many ways, Hick was the Steve Waugh in reverse. On his day, batting seemed like a walk in the park but such days were few and far between and most of his dismissals left one wondering whether he was just too gifted and could not handle the pressure of the big stage.

And looking back at Hick's career, the answer is probably yes. There were signs in the debut series itself. After being drafted into the team on the back of some exceptional county performances (including the unforgettable 405 not out), Hick seemed totally out of place in Test cricket at home against West Indies. And soon was out of the team. While it always known that he would make a comeback given his prodigious talent, sadly it continued to be a case of being in and out for Hick. It was sad state of affairs for English cricket because no one doubted his talent yet the runs were not there often enough to prove it. Of course, it did not help that he kept getting dropped a bit too frequently but then he cannot complain that he did not have his share of chances.

Hick kept giving the England selectors and fans hope of a revival with some impressive knocks like the 178 against India in India (his first Test century). He was an integral part of the 1992 World Cup team that made it to the finals and also began the '99 edition held at home with a bang - cracking consecutive unbeaten half centuries in the opening two matches. But every time it was too good to last.

There was amazing pattern too most of Hick's dismissal. Either he looked totally at sea like in his debut series against the West Indian fast bowlers or just seemed bored out in the middle. He did not do too much in the '99 World Cup after the above mentioned knocks as England got knocked out in the first round.

Why Hick could not overcome his initial hiccups and transform his domestic form into international runs will always remain a mystery but with well over 60, 000 runs in all forms of the game, he was in many ways the Bradman of domestic cricket.

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