Hick downplays England success

England

Former batsman Graeme Hick is adamant England have not yet rekindled the fine stretch of form that brought the number one Test ranking two years ago.

Former batsman Graeme Hick is adamant England have not yet rekindled the fine stretch of form that brought the number one Test ranking two years ago.

While series triumph over India ensured the coveted title in August 2011, the reign was relatively short-lived, as defeat to the South Africans sent the English down the pecking order.

A drawn series against New Zealand later pushed them to third, below the Proteas and Indians. This month's Ashes triumph, however, has reflected some of the former dominance of captain Alastair Cook's men.

But Hick, who played 10 Tests against the Australians between 1993 and 1999, has reiterated that England will have to succeed in the return series in Sydney and surrounds – if they are to be considered worthy of top billing again.

"They have played well enough to beat this Australia side but they know they have not really hit their straps. The bowlers have bowled well against a weak batting line-up and got them out of jail," Hick told the <i>Express</i>.

"There have been a few loose shots from both sides and I don't know whether the England batsmen gave the Australian bowlers the respect they deserved. But England only played to 80 percent and, when they arrive over in Australia, the Australians will come at them hard.

"South Africa was a glitch and maybe things that were going on behind the scenes in the dressing room affected them more than they realised. When you get to number one in the world, the hardest thing is to step up a gear and say you want to dominate sides and not let them have a chance at all."

The Zimbabwean-born Hick, who played the last of 65 Tests in 2001, is currently employed by Brisbane's Centre of Excellence, where he is working with Australia's promising Under-17 and -19 cricketers.

"There's one kid in particular – and I won't mention his name – who should make a name for himself playing for Australia. Now is the time for these youngsters to see their opportunities, do the hard yards and apply themselves," he concluded.

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