September 28, 2013

Super Hick's final revenge

Where our hero infiltrates the lair of the evil Dr Sutherland

For English cricket watchers of a certain vintage, Graeme Hick was the chosen one. He was Super Hick, the hero from the planet Krypton, whose smoking space capsule had made a mysterious crater in a wheat field near Kidderminster, and who would one day swoop in from the shires, stand atop the Lord's pavilion, with the wind gently lifting his flowing green cape, and announce in a booming voice that he was here to save England.

Those long, agonising months waiting for the Home Office's Interplanetary Superhero Immigration Unit to clear Super Hick's citizenship were followed by even longer, even more agonising months of realising that Super Hick wasn't an intergalactic cricket hero after all, he was just Tim Robinson with a funny accent.

But now, behold cricket fans: the final revenge of Super Hick. In his latest adventure, "Super Hick In Australia" our hero infiltrates the lair of the evil Dr Sutherland, steals a clipboard and an overcoat and poses as the Lord High Admiral of the Department of Cricket Fabulousness* from where he can oversee the (further) decline of Australian batting.

He plans to "shift the mindset" of the younger players by luring them into his laboratory and hooking them up to his Mindshiftinator. Once activated, the device extracts their Australian mental essence and replaces it with stodgy English dourness. When released back into the community, the young Aussies will forget all about dangerous, adrenaline-junkie pursuits such as surfing, hang-gliding or chasing after wild pigs in a ute; instead they will spend their days checking that they have got the best deal on their car insurance, polishing their shoes, and practising their forward-defensive in the bedroom mirror with a stick of rhubarb.

The result: a collection of timid, cautious, no-risk bore merchants who will still average about 25 runs in Tests but will take considerably longer to get them. Never again will a Ponting, a Hayden or a Gilchrist emerge to terrify English bowlers with their strike rate.

Plan B is even more cunning. Super Hick will arrange to move all Sheffield Shield matches to Taunton, a ground on which he averaged approximately 1709.53 during his first-class career. After a few weeks of bashing bowlers into various parts of Somerset, the young Australians will feel like a million dollars, when in fact, at Test match valuation rates, they will only be worth a million Albanian lek.

This is a remarkable triumph for the man whose blade scythed the pure golden light of righteous batting power through the gloomy twilight of late 1980s county cricket, yet who entered Test cricket with the ferocity of a bank vole who'd taken a wrong turn and found himself in the middle of a gladiator fight at the Coliseum.

So celebrate well, die-hard Hickies, this is a day to unpack our signed match programmes from the Refuge Assurance League, and to reread those well-thumbed comics such as Super Hick and the Deadly Ambrose and Super Hick meets Waqar the Merciless. At long last, our hero has stormed the citadel of his evil Australian nemesis, and at the age of forty-seven-and-a-third, he stands proudly astride the pavilion of the SCG, gazing at the sunset, his steely glare focused on the setting sun of Aussie batting talent, his middle-aged spread discreetly concealed by his Worcestershire Royals superhero pants.

* Loosely based on the only slightly less hyperbolic position of High Performance Coach at the Centre Of Excellence.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England. He tweets here