Cricket: Error by Hick displays wait-and-see attitude

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The Independent Online
THE basic principles of the game should surely be second nature to Test cricketers and yet, during his stand with Graham Thorpe, Graeme Hick committed one error which was extraordinary at this level.

In mid-afternoon Thorpe had checked the bowlers with some wonderful strokeplay and had helped Hick through an introspective period after Graham Gooch's dismissal. Hick turned a ball from Fanie de Villiers to fine leg and jogged off for an 'agreed' single. The ball was going straight to Allan Donald and there was apparently nothing anyone could do to stop the single or indeed to turn it into a two.

However, the accepted rule is that batsmen should run the first quickly and then turn and see if the second is a possibility. When that first one is run flat out it invariably puts the fielder under more pressure not to allow the second. Though under no pressure Donald misfielded and the ball rebounded away to his left. Hick had still not completed the first run and had his back to Donald and so was unable to take advantage of the mistake and come back for the second.

The loss of one run may not in itself be of too much importance. Hick's attitude, however, seemed all too significant at a time when the effort and input of some of the England side had been up for close examination.

One of the South Africans spoke after the Leeds Test of the difference in playing against England and Australia. He said that while the Australians are at you all the time, the Englishmen are only too happy to let the game drift in a wait-and-see-if- anything-turns-up mood.