Cricket: Hick aims to seal World Cup place

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The Independent Online
GRAEME HICK has spelt out his determination to carry on where he left off last season as the countdown to the Wills International Cup begins in tomorrow with a warm-up game against Zimbabwe here.

Whatever his failings for England at Test level, Hick remains a destructive force in the limited-overs game as his performances against South Africa and Sri Lanka in the triangular tournament in August demonstrated.

The 32-year-old batsman also took a century off the Sri Lankans for Worcestershire in a 50-over game in addition to his one against them in the one-off Test at The Oval.

That was not enough to earn Hick a place on the Ashes tour but now he has been made vice-captain for the battles in Bangladesh as he looks to entrench himself in the squad for next year's World Cup.

England are also playing the host nation in a another warm-up match on Friday before their tournament opener against South Africa on Sunday in front of an anticipated capacity 35,000 crowd.

Hick said: "I enjoyed the end of last season and getting the runs in the one-dayers but I felt I played confidently throughout the season.

"There were one or two blemishes and I would have liked more runs in the Tests with South Africa but overall I was quite happy with the way I performed.

"Make no mistake, this is a big tournament for everyone. We are all focusing on next year and it is a chance to put your name in the hat for the final 14 in the World Cup squad.

"There are a lot of good players out here vying for places but I think there are also a few that will be looked at who will be going on the Ashes tour.

"We haven't played cricket for about a month but these two practice games will enable us to get rid of any rust and acclimatised. The chaps were a bit short of breath at the first practice session.

"With the competition played on a knock-out basis, we know that we might have come all this way for just one proper game but we are determined to go further."

As for being handed the vice-captaincy role, Hick said: "It was a position that needed to be filled in case something happened to Adam Hollioake.

"I'm delighted to have been chosen as there were a few other people out here who could have done the job.

"It wasn't something I had thought about and I didn't initially think that they were going to appoint anybody because the trip at the most will only last about two-and-a-half weeks."

England confined their opening practice session in sapping 100F heat to a game of impromptu football and fielding practice.

But they returned to the Bangabandhu Stadium last night for a full-scale nets session under the lights which will be in use against the South Africans on Sunday. South Af-rica won the Commonwealth Games gold medal last month.