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BBC Sport's Karen Mullally
"Hick never looked likely to get another contract"
 real 56k

BBC Sport's Jonathan Agnew
"Omitting Croft from the list, the selectors have taken a tough but reasonable decision"
 real 14k

Worcestershire Chairman John Elliot
I'm sure he'll (Hick) try to fight his way back
 real 14k

Dominic Cork
"Deep down I thought I might have a chance"
 real 14k

Yorkshire fast bowler Matthew Hoggard
"If I'm playing for England I'll be more than happy"
 real 56k

England chairman of selectors
"It's a learning curve for everybody"
 real 56k

Thursday, 29 March, 2001, 09:33 GMT 10:33 UK
Hick out in the cold
Graeme Hick is bowled during the second Test against Sri Lanka at Kandy
Hick: Only 126 runs in 10 Test innings over the winter
Graeme Hick's Test career could be over after the England and Wales Cricket Board decided not to award him a central contract for the summer series against Pakistan and Australia.

The 34-year-old was dropped for the third Test in Sri Lanka and the ECB's decision means Michael Vaughan will be a regular in the side this summer, providing he maintains good form and fitness.

  Hick's record
65 Tests
3,363 runs (avg 31.32)
Six 100s, 18 50s
90 catches
23 wickets (avg 56.78)
120 ODIs
3,846 runs (avg 37.33)
Five 100s, 27 50s
64 catches
30 wickets (avg 34.20)

Hick's cause has not been helped by the fact that England decided to pick only six batsmen, one less than last year.

Initially it is likely to be that spot which Hick will chase if England decide to go into a Test with seven batsmen.

And the chairman of selectors David Graveney is not ruling anyone out

"There are a lot of people in the market, lots of contestants for that position, young and experienced", he said.

"The selectors took on board the observation from last time that we were overloaded with batsmen and the aims of central contracts is the protection and control of the bowlers."

There is also hope for Hick, in that he remains a leading member of the one-day side and could be called up if any of the first-choice players are injured.

"I would never say about anybody that a line has been put through their name There are still plenty of opportunities for other people to be involved," Graveney insisted.

Central contracts were first awarded last year, giving the ECB control over which matches the players can take part in for their counties.

But the selectors are still free to choose players from outside the pool for the Test matches.

Robert Croft has also missed out on a contract because England expect to play only one spinner in the Tests and slow left-armer Ashley Giles is first choice.

Graveney paid tribute to Croft's "excellent performances with bat and ball" in Sri Lanka and confirmed that the Welshman remains in their thoughts.

Cork question mark

Yorkshire fast bowler Matthew Hoggard has been included in the 12-man list after impressing in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, even though he did not make the Test team.

And there is also a place for Derbyshire's Dominic Cork, despite his early return from Pakistan because of a back injury.

Dominic Cork celebrates a wicket against West Indies
Cork must prove his fitness

Graveney stressed, however, that his inclusion was subject to him proving his fitness with Derbyshire at the start of the season.

Cork topped the Test bowling averages against the West Indies last summer, taking 20 wickets in four games at an average of 12.25, and he also made a match-winning 33 not out at Lord's when England squeezed to a thrilling two-wicket win.

"In choosing these 12 players, we were naturally keen to retain the nucleus of the team that has served us so well over the past year and won four successive Test series," said Graveney.

"But we also need to take account of the different conditions the team are likely to face this summer and the inclusion of Matthew Hoggard and Dominic Cork will strengthen competition for places in the seam bowling department."

Other contract candidates overlooked were Andrew Flintoff, Mark Ramprakash, Alex Tudor and Chris Schofield,

Contracted players: N Hussain (Essex, capt), MA Atherton (Lancashire), ME Trescothick (Somerset), GP Thorpe (Surrey), MP Vaughan (Yorkshire), AJ Stewart (Surrey, wkt), C White (Yorkshire), AR Caddick (Somerset), D Gough (Yorkshire), AF Giles (Warwickshire), MJ Hoggard (Yorkshire), DG Cork (Derbyshire).

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See also:

29 Mar 01 |  Cricket
Hoggard targets Test spot
28 Mar 01 |  England on Tour
Hick set for England exile
20 Mar 01 |  Cricket
ECB expects bumper crowds
20 Mar 01 |  England on Tour
Hussain eyes new blood
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