Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hick to Retire

Graeme Hick’s decision to retire from first class cricket at the end of the current season marks the end of an ignominious era in English cricket, an era typified by poor selection decisions and shameful handling of players. It’s highly pitiable that Hick, the man who could have easily been one of the world’s greatest batsmen lacked the adequate support from the backroom staff that his truly precocious talent more than deserved. It is not child’s play to plunder more than forty thousand runs in first class cricket, but that’s exactly what Hick made it look like. On his day, and it seemed like everyday was his, he made attacks look ordinary as he plundered one boundary after another. Hick was a monster of a batsman in the county circuit, but sadly for him and England he couldn’t replicate the same kind of form in the international circuit. I am of the opinion that the weight of expectations placed on him and the manner in which he was handled by the selectors are the prime causes for his failure at the highest level.

For all his malfunctions in the test arena, I still believe Hick had a lot to offer in ODIs, even well into the new millennium, a consideration which sadly never dawned on the English selectors. Hick’s average of 37.33 from 120 ODIs is better than the likes of Adam Gilchrist, Steve Waugh, Yuvraj Singh, Herschelle Gibbs and Mohammed Azharuddin to name a few, all of whom were/are fine ODI batsmen. Hick also possessed bucket like hands which helped him take catches in the slips with consummate ease earning plaudits from Graham Gooch who described him as one of the best slip catchers of all time. Steve Waugh is of the opinion that Hick is “as talented as any other player he had come across” and Shane Warne believes that Hick is “purely and simply a quality player”. Unfortunately for English cricket supporters, Hick’s inability to overcome the uncertainties thrust upon him by the selectors ensured that he was never quite able to showcase his phenomenal abilities at the very highest level.

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