Graeme Hick, the former England Test batsman, will be set the task of turning around Australia's domestic batting slump as part of his appointment as high performance coach at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane.
Hick has taken the job previously filled by Stuart Law, who in turn has replaced Darren Lehmann as coach of Queensland, and one of his first tasks will involve a batting forum next month in Sydney. At the forum, a range of former Australian cricketers and current coaches will discuss the state of batting in Australia and create a national batting programme that will be implemented by Hick.
Australia's Test batting has been the source of great concern for several years and the lack of young batsmen applying pressure with strong Sheffield Shield summers has contributed to Australia's ongoing batting malaise. Last season, the leading run scorer in the Shield was Ricky Ponting, who is now retired from Test cricket, and the then 35-year-old Chris Rogers was third.
After the end of that Shield season, Hick was given the task of working with Australia's young batsmen to develop their mindsets for playing long innings, and he has now been added to the Centre of Excellence staff full time. Although Hick did not live up to his potential as a Test cricketer, he was an extremely prolific run scorer at first-class level, compiling 136 centuries, eighth on the all-time list.
"Graeme is a highly regarded former international batsman who has been a consultant coach this past winter working with our Australian Institute of Sport scholars," Pat Howard, Cricket Australia's executive general manager of team performance, said. "It is fantastic that we could secure his services full-time.
"His main role will be working with our development teams including Australia A, Under-19 players and those in our current pathway system. He will also provide a dedicated batting resource to all state players and Australian players who come through the Centre of Excellence at any time during the year. He will work closely with the state coaches in this regard.
"Graeme knows what it takes to compete at the top level and has had many years' experience playing in different conditions, which will be vital to the development of our young batters. He will complement the specialist skills with Troy Cooley and Tim Coyle who are responsible for our fast bowling and fielding programs respectively, as well as all national coaching staff in our pathway system including Darren Lehmann.
"One of Graeme's first tasks will be attending a batting forum that CA is running in October in Sydney. The forum will bring together a number for former Australian cricketers and current coaches and will provide information that will feed into the creation of a national batting program that Graeme will be charged with developing and implementing."
Hick, who played 65 Tests for England over a decade-long career, and competed in three Ashes campaigns, said he was pleased to be working with Australia's young batsmen.
"Over the years I have developed a huge amount of respect for Australian cricket and the baggy green," Hick said. "I am excited about the chance to work with Australia's young talent and being able to assist in their growth and development. This is going to be a great challenge for me and one I am really looking forward to."