It has been said before but surely this represents his final chance. A low score or two might be acceptable in a limited-overs slog but the manner of his playing will be the key. Before his Test recall Hick sounded like a man at ease. This was also before being faced by the world's best fast bowler. Hick succumbed. It may have been a collapse of temperament but there was a suspicion that he was simply out of form. His limited-over returns recently have been modest. England could still do with him but the loyalty of the selectors deserves repayment.
Sooner or later (but actually the sooner the better) it must be discovered if Leicestershire's left-arm swing bowler has really made the improvement claimed on his behalf. He has certainly developed upper-body weight, he seems convinced of his own progress, he looks, on most evidence, to have acquired the essential tendency for regular late in- swing. Playing internationals again will be the true yardstick, though the white ball in the Triangular Tournament might make him look deceptively unplayable. If it was surprising that he was omitted from the original list of 37 names being considered for the World Cup next year it is also difficult to see him being a potent resource on the Ashes tour.
Less than a year ago he was the Knight on a White Charger riding to the rescue of English cricket. He blazed away in the one-dayers against Australia and led an all- conquering team in Sharjah - since when he has looked not so much shining knight as dull serf. But the senior of the two siblings is a competitive creature who is perhaps not as good as his early billing indicated but should not be written off. Players such as he can - and will - be important in the World Cup. Surrey have been moderate going on useless in one-day cricket this summer but under his leadership they are leading the Championship. He has the flexibility to rise again.
One of the great improvisers of the one-day game, he is unafraid to carve over cow corner if he thinks that is the most effective way of scoring runs. It is inconceivable that an England limited-overs side should take the field without him and despite purported technical defects (that is, movements which do not conform to the accepted orthodoxy) he and his expected one-day opening partner Ali Brown are both some batsmen. There has evolved a whim, now diminishing, to separate England's Test and one-day sides but the dashing Knight appears to have the right stuff to play in both. The game needs his approach and he fields like an angel.
STEPHEN BRENKLEYReuse content