Prakash happy to go head-to-head once again
30s. At first-class level both had averages deep in the 50s, and made a very neat 250 centuries between them (Hick 136 to Ramprakash’s 114), amid 76,771 runs and look very likely to be the last two batsmen to register 100 first-class hundreds.
And so to Townsville, where the tangle continues. Ramprakash is England’s batting coach, who as a fit 48-year-old is a tireless exponent of the dog-thrower, is available for a net at all hours and would probably still rather be hitting than throwing. Hick, every bit as fit, is the enemy. He is coaching England’s final opponents before the first Ashes Test, a Cricket Australia XI, and is Australia’s batting coach having lived in the country for six years.
Hick appeared for media duties in the rain yesterday. There were some gentle questions about his promising young charges, then a trip down memory lane.
“Oh, we don’t have to go back on all that do we?” Hick said with a smile when asked about his and Ramprakash’s careers. “I thought we’d gone past that. We’ve got an Ashes series to look forward to …”
Hick does not seem to carry any great regrets. There are things he wishes he
65 (91-01) 31.32 10 35.21
52 (91-02) 27.32 12 42.40 knew then – “I wouldn’t have listened to the media as much as I did” – and aspects of the top level, such as the level of analysis, that he explains with empathy to young players, like Matt Renshaw, who looks likely to lose his opener’s spot after scoring 69 runs in six innings this Australian summer. Test disappointment surely made both men better coaches.
“Fortunately, yes,” said Hick when asked if his international career feels a distant memory. “I can sleep at night these days. I’ve never been one to reflect and look back and feel sorry for myself. I had great opportunities and loved what I did. I reflect on it now in terms of some of the things I did and decisions I made to try to help people in what they go through.
“Quite often during those moments I think: ‘Yes, that’s what I went through and this is what helped me.’ It doesn’t mean it necessarily helps someone else but it’s one of the challenges I’ve enjoyed in coaching.”
Does he ever pause to wonder if his and Ramprakash’s careers would have panned out differently with the stability afforded to modern players? “I don’t know,” he says. “Central contracts came in as I was going out and there’s so much cricket now it’s great to have them to control it. I’m not someone who looks back and says, ‘If only.’ Why would I have regrets? It’s for me to deal with and I’ve dealt with that myself. I know I tried hard and worked hard but I don’t dwell on it. I count myself as very fortunate.”
Hick and Ramprakash are as different as their careers are similar, but Hick says he is looking forward to catching up over their “common ground”: the production of runs and, now, run-makers.
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