Vintage Hick reaping benefits of tinkering

Worcestershire 373-8 v Warwickshire

Given that it is 18 years since he first topped 2,000 runs in a season it could be seen as surprising that Graeme Hick, his last Test more than three years ago, is still bothered about playing cricket, let alone thinking about ways to improve, when other players - indeed former England captains - junior to him in years are thinking about retirement.

Given that it is 18 years since he first topped 2,000 runs in a season it could be seen as surprising that Graeme Hick, his last Test more than three years ago, is still bothered about playing cricket, let alone thinking about ways to improve, when other players - indeed former England captains - junior to him in years are thinking about retirement.

How do you improve on a career nudging towards 37,000 first-class runs? With difficulty is the obvious answer. Yet Hick, 38 last Sunday, is giving that proposition a fair crack. Dismayed to have added a paltry (by his standards) 670 to his aggregate last summer, he spent the winter in analysis - of video tapes, that is, not his psyche - and the results have been startling.

Yesterday, in conditions where no one could accuse him of being a flat-track bully, Hick passed his 2003 total in only his ninth innings.

Having gone into this match on the back of consecutive double hundreds, Worcestershire's most famous adopted son added 158, his tally for a still fledgling summer now 801.

It is 16 years since anyone completed 1,000 first-class runs before 1 June, the last being Hick himself. With only the second innings of this match - if, indeed, it is necessary - to come it is unlikely he will match that feat, although to have gone so close to his glorious standards of 1988, the year of his unbeaten 405 at Taunton, is quite something.

He puts it down to some fairly simple tinkering, having reverted to standing tall in the crease, bat held up, as he did in the early part of his career. How well it served him yesterday, until an error not of technique but judgement let him down.

Frustratingly, too, it seemed that it was his team-mate Andy Bichel's judgement, the Australian risking a second to mid-wicket off Ian Bell only for Neil Carter to hit the stumps at the non-striker's end with a direct hit. Hick himself had been virtually flawless, hitting 24 fours, even profiting from a mistake when an attempt to pull Carter soared off the top edge for six.

His exit, therefore, was a disappointment, although Worcestershire could not complain too bitterly about their return for batting first. Ben Smith, with whom Hick shared a county record-breaking stand of 417 against Gloucestershire last time out, helped to put on 141 for the third wicket yesterday, around which Worcestershire gathered four batting points.

It might have been more but for an untrustworthy, up and down pitch. Stephen Peters will testify to that, having survived a shooter only to succumb to a lifter from the next ball. He was a maiden first-class victim for the 20-year-old seamer Naqaash Tahir, making his debut in place of an injured Dewald Pretorius. Bell and Dougie Brown were the best bowlers, deservedly picking up two wickets each.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model of a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution