Tempering disenchantment with humility
Saturday 12 August 1995
The England batsman, a believer in the power of self-control, is unlikely ever to vault a boundary fence intent on launching a kung-fu attack on a spectator. But, in other respects, he and Manchester's enfant terrible have much in common. Isolated? Persecuted? Both would answer yes to those. And, of course, both are foreign; or, in Hick's case, not English by birth, which is probably significant whether you like it or not.
Hick might not have called Raymond Illingworth a brainless idiot when they met to "get a few things straight" before this match but he may never be closer to doing so. Tears may have greeted the news that he had been dropped at Old Trafford but there was anger brewing underneath and he arrived here full of it.
In a comic book world, this story would be about the day he turned his spite on the West Indian fast bowlers and blasted them to oblivion but this was not the reality. In truth, the pitch tamed the wild beast and Hick was calm, measured, at times even a little tentative.
But then he knew he would seldom happen upon a more promising opportunity, not in this company, at any rate. He knew too that it was most certainly not in his interests to fail if he had it in mind to extend his Test career. And, in as much as he edged past Michael Atherton and England's highest scorer, he did as he had been told during his and Illingworth's exchange and played the leading role.
"Not a lot was said between us, really," Hick said afterwards. "I wouldn't say it spurred me on, but I suppose it served its purpose. It was nice to go out knowing where I stood. After what has gone on in the last fortnight, today meant a lot."
When his 15th boundary took him to his hundred the applause was warm and sustained and, to his credit, he signalled his acknowledgement to each corner of the ground, rather than to the players' balcony, as is the modern, ungracious habit. Small things like that are appreciated.
It is a pity, then, that such moments must for him be soured a little by bitterness, sullied by the joylessness of craving revenge on his critics. Like Cantona, he lives with the belief that the world, or significant parts of it, is against him.
Cantona's bete noir, excepting the one at Selhurst Park, makes rules and sits behind a desk; for Hick it is the media, whom he accuses not just of damaging his own standing but that of English cricket in general.
Latest in Sport
Nick Kyrgios calls former Olympian Dawn Fraser a 'blatant racist' after she tells Wimbledon star to 'go back where their parents came from'
Angel Di Maria to Bayern Munich: The reasons why Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben will not be joining Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo storms out of interview after being asked about possible sale of Manchester United target Sergio Ramos
Manchester United transfer news: No 9 shirt left vacant - a hint that new striker will be arriving?
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Kyrgios set for heavy fine for giving up game during loss to Richard Gasquet
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 3 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 4 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
- 5 The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...