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Saturday, 8 September, 2001, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
Hick's place in history
Graeme Hick hits a six over mid-wicket
Hick has few equals in terms of sheer power
BBC Sport Online profiles Worcestershire run-machine Graeme Hick.

Graeme Hick's Test career had more stops and starts than an inter-city express train.

But his time in county cricket has run as smoothly as the River Severn which flows past Worcestershire's New Road headquarters.

It is 17 years since he arrived in England as a fresh-faced teenager after making a name for himself as a schoolboy prodigy in his native Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.

And he has been making county bowlers suffer ever since.

His 200 not out against Durham was his 117th first-class century - the same number as Australian Sir Don Bradman, perhaps the greatest batsman of all time.

  Most first-class 100s
199 Jack Hobbs
170 Patsy Hendren
167 Walter Hammond
153 Philip Mead
151 Geoff Boycott, Herbert Sutcliffe
145 Frank Woolley
129 Len Hutton
128 Graham Gooch
124 WG Grace
123 Denis Compton
122 Tom Graveney
117 Don Bradman, Graeme Hick

Step by step, Hick has risen up the list of century makers, surpassing Sir Viv Richards' 114 earlier in the summer.

His innings at the Riverside also made him the only batsman to score a hundred against every other county, both home and away.

And the way he reached his double century with a straight six was typical Hick.

Now 35, Sir Jack Hobbs' record of 199 hundreds may be beyond him.

But, having signed a new contract which will keep him with Worcestershire until the end of the 2004 season, he is likely to supplant a few more illustrious names before he is finished.

Next in line is former Worcestershire and England batsman Tom Graveney, who reached three figures on 122 occasions.

After that come Denis Compton (123) and WG Grace (124).

Former South African batsman Barry Richards ended his county career with Hampshire in part because the bowling he was facing did not provide a big enough challenge.

Australia celebrate Hick's dismissal during the 2001 Ashes tour
Hick's wicket is still highly prized

But Hick, whose 405 not out against Somerset at Taunton in 1988 is the highest score in the county's history, has not found motivation a problem.

Former England batsman Graeme Fowler says it is unfair to suggest that Hick's dominance with the bat is a reflection of the poor standard of county bowling attacks.

"Over the years, he's been exceptional at county level," Fowler told BBC Sport Online.

"Look at the consistency with which he's done it - nobody else has. If we agree that county cricket isn't that good, then why aren't more people doing the same sort of thing as Hick?"

Despite his failure to repeat his county form to Test cricket - notwithstanding six centuries - Worcestershire believe Hick has been harshly treated by England.

"He's been dropped nine or 10 times and whether you are Graeme Hick or Sachin Tendulkar, it's very hard to establish yourself in Test cricket when you are in and out of the side," Director Cricket Tom Moody commented earlier this year.

Former Worcestershire and England batsman Tom Graveney
Tom Graveney: His total is next on Hick's hit-list

"If you look back over his Test career, the likes of Curtly Ambrose, Glenn McGrath, Courtney Walsh, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis are all in fifth gear when they're bowling at Hicky."

Hick has known triumphs at Worcestershire - county champions in 1988 and 1989 and winners of two Lord's finals in the early 1990s.

And as captain, he is hoping to lead them into a new era of success.

But is his England career really over for good?

Hick has not been required by the selectors since the tour to Sri Lanka earlier this year.

He still harbours one last international ambition, however - to play in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.

"That is my goal, to keep myself fit and be in with a fighting chance," said Hick.

And after England's dismal effort in the NatWest Series against Australia and Pakistan, that goal could yet become a reality.

See also:

07 Sep 01 |  Counties
Hick equals Bradman mark
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