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My beloved County will always be number one says Hick
11:30am Wednesday 5th September 2012 in Sport
WORCESTERSHIRE cricket legend Graeme Hick insists he will forever remain a Royals supporter.
In 2008, his last season as a County cricketer, Hick became the most prolific run-scorer of all-time, having amassed a colossal 64,000 first-class runs in almost a quarter of a century as a professional player.
But statistics don’t tell the full story of the former New Road captain’s remarkable career when he scaled the heights as an unstoppable run-machine and a handy off-spinner bowler with 232 first-class wickets to his name.
“I will always be a Worcestershire supporter and I still follow the side’s progress and hope they win every game,” said Hick who now lives with his family in Queensland, Australia.
“Looking back at my career you always remember trophies you won and personal milestones but nothing was more important than the friendships I made.
“I still keep in touch with people who supported me and helped me. Stephen Moore and Gareth Batty are good friends and I’ve got no regrets about anything.
“I enjoyed every minute of my time at New Road. I did my best for the club I loved and they in turn gave me the opportunity to perform. “The ups and downs shaped me as a person, but through it all Worcestershire were fantastic to me and my family and I will never forget my time at New Road.”
The Harare-born Zimbabwean, arrived in England as a teenager in 1983, and was the youngest player to play for Zimbabwe when he made his debut in that year’s World Cup.
After a season with Kidderminster in the Birmingham League and Worcestershire seconds, he went on to dominate bowling attacks in the County Championship,.
After qualifying for England, Hick, made his Test debut against the fearsome West Indies pace attack in 1991 when an apparent flaw in his technique against fast bowling was exposed. Hick went on to average a disappointing 31.32 from 65 Tests and a more respectable 37.33 from 120 limited overs internationals.
By his own admission he failed to live up to the expectations that his first-class average of 52.53 promised and departed the international scene in 2001 as an enigma.
“I should have scored more runs and been more consistent,” he explained. “I went into the England Test side in 1991 with high expectations on my shoulders but I’ve got no complaints.”
Now resident in Queensland, Hick, 46, is coaching at club level and is involved with the Queensland Bulls Masters — a team of of retired greats including Andy Bichel, Ian Healy, and Jimmy Maher, who aim to develop cricket in the state while supporting local charities and indigenous communities.
“I'm too old to be playing seriously but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my involvement with fundraising for hospitals and schools,” Hick said.
“We’ve raised a lot of money for good causes, and it’s been an extension of similar fundraising I was doing in the UK.
“I’m also enjoying the coaching side of things; teaching young players to keep things simple.
“When I was at Worcester I was taught that cricket is a simple game which players too often make complicated. The ‘keeping it simple’ philosophy ensures that runs will flow for all batsmen without any extra pressure.”
Hick has also become a fitness fanatic — his motivation being a burning desire not to end up with the same waistline as that of some former team-mates who piled on the pounds post-cricket.
“I do a bit in the gym every morning which is important since I used to give some players stick for being fat after they stopped playing,” he said. “I also had a back problem during my career so it helps my mobility.” Hick’s family are equally settled in the Sunshine State. Son Jordan is a keen golfer while daughter Lauren is studying event management and has taken up rowing.