Hick sneaks out of county crickets back door

So, after 25 seasons in England’s first-class game, former England batsmen Graeme Hick has retired from the game. The 42-year-old – who has never been one to shout about his own abilities – bowed out after injury meant that he missed what would have been his final game for Worcestershire.

Instead, his ‘grand farewell’ came in a Pro40 game against Middlesex. Hick did receive an excellent ovation during this game, but he only scored 14 and many feel it is a shame that he wasn’t able to see out his final season as a professional cricketer. The player himself though was more than happy with the outcome, saying that he would have liked to had waited until Christmas until he announced his decision ‘when everyone was too busy to notice’.

Everyone knows that Hick never quite performed on the international stage and the word most associated with him was ‘frustrating’. This annoys me though. Yes, Hick was a talented batsman, but sometimes players simply aren’t cut out for international cricket. It’s the same with football. Look at Ian Wright and Andy Cole for example. At club level they couldn’t stop scoring, but for England – it never quite happened. It’s the same with Hick. Some people blame the England coaching team for ruining his confidence, but overall I think we have to accept that he simply wasn’t good enough to perform with the required consistency.

Perhaps it was a mental issue that Hick had. After all, he has recently admitted that he lacked the ‘cutting edge’ needed to perform at the highest level. I suppose that this does have substance because Hick did manage secure five test match centuries and 18 fifties. That’s not achieved by just anybody. However, his average of just over 30 tells its own story. During his 114 test match innings, he failed to make 50 on no less than 90 occasions. He failed far too often and in the end, 16 runs in two innings against Sri Lanka back in 2001 turned out to be his lot.

He has been a fantastic representative for Worcestershire though and for that he has gained nothing but respect. The cricket odds have rarely backed them to be in line for many trophies and although he hasn’t been playing for England in the last seven years, he has continued playing for his beloved county with great individual success. This highlights his love for enjoying the game of cricket and perhaps emphasises that he is happy enough going without the competitive edge of the international game.

You would always be happy placing a cricket bet on Hick getting some runs for Worcestershire – in any form of the game. He is a man that has broken countless records, making 526 first-class appearances and scoring an incredible 41,112 runs along the way. The fact that he averaged over 50 in a career spanning 25 years really is quite something.

I would sit here and list all the records he has broken, but I’m pretty sure they will all be on display in various columns and blogs during the coming weeks as English cricket says farewell to one of its most respected and successful cricketers of all time.

Thomas Rooney - Freelance Sports Journalist

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