Graeme Hick in his playing days for Worcestershire.
Graeme Hick in his playing days for Worcestershire.

Hick aiming to iron out batting creases

CRICKET Australia's Centre of Excellence new high performance coach Graeme Hick has a goal to teach those now under his charge how to bat longer.

And spending hours at the crease was something the former England batsman used to relish during in his prolific 25-year playing career - and he has one particular innings to prove it.

In 1988, Hick batted for nine hours and 15 minutes on his way to scoring a mammoth 405 not out for Worcestershire in the County Championship clash with Somerset.

The now 47-year-old still holds the record for being the last Englishman to score a first-class quadruple-century.

Hick, who now lives on the Gold Coast, says, for him, there was no better feeling than occupying the crease for as long as he could - and he has the runs on the board to show how much success he enjoyed.

The 65-Test representative scored 136-first-class centuries and piled on 41,112 first-class runs at 52.23 before he retired in 2008.

"The longer I batted the more I enjoyed it," Hick told APN. "I'd get to 50 and start all over again, and I'd do the same again when I would reach the next milestone (a century) and so on.

"I was never content to reach 50 - I always wanted to go on with it and that desire never changed throughout my career.

"It was all about staying out there as far as I was concerned.

"I know that innings (his 405) was a long time ago, but we are certainly not seeing as many big scores as we used to in England, or here in Australia."

One reason Hick says might be the cause may be the amount of Twenty20 and one-day cricket played nowadays and it has a domino effect on the longer version of the game.

"A quick 30 or 40 won't cut it in Sheffield Shield cricket," he said. "I'm hoping to teach these players to realise how good it is to play a long innings. They need to learn how to bat for four or six hours and hopefully I can make a difference."

With hostilities in the return Ashes series set to resume at the Gabba in Brisbane on November 21, Hick laughed off suggestions he has jumped ship and is now helping the arch enemy.

"That's been funny hearing people say that," he said.

"Do people in both countries forget who set up England's cricket academy years ago? An Australian named Rod Marsh.

"I have no issues in doing this job. In every walk of life there are people from different nationalities working together and what I'm doing now is no different."

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