A relatively new feature on the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast has been the introduction of the ‘Saturday Night Stat.’
Each week, a member of the panel sends around a stat at 10:45pm on a Saturday to the rest of the group. Last week, regular host Yas Rana sent the following: “Graeme Hick took more ODI wickets in the 1990s than Phil Tufnell.”
Hick, a World Cup finalist with England in 1992, took 21 ODI wickets in the 1990s to Tufnell’s 19, albeit from far more games. Hick’s ODI record with the ball favours reasonably well against the frontline spin options used by England during his ODI career.
In fact, over the course of Hick’s career, only Robert Croft took more ODI wickets than Hick among English spinners. His average of 34.20 was better than all other English spinners between his first and last ODIs, with the exception of Neil Smith who took just six ODI wickets. While his economy rate of 4.98 was higher than most of his contemporaries, his strike-rate of 41.2 ranked as one of the best.
The narrative of Hick’s career generally involves discussion around his “unfulfilled” promise. A leviathan in county cricket – Hick scored 136 first-class centuries at an average of over 52 – but someone who never quite nailed international cricket. After all, he only mustered six Test centuries over the course of his decade long Test career.
However, his ODI numbers with the bat stand up against the very best England produced in the first 30 years of ODI cricket. After his last ODI in March 2001, only Graham Gooch, Alec Stewart and Allan Lamb had scored more ODI runs for England. Of that trio, only Lamb boasted a higher average than Hick’s 37.33. Yes, England weren’t exactly dominant in ODI cricket, but they were still a team that reached three of the first seven World Cup finals.
The list of English cricketers with more ODI runs at a higher average than Hick reads: Allan Lamb, Marcus Trescothick, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Joe Root and Eoin Morgan. Hick is in excellent company.