Time's Arrow

Talking of Taunton, it occurred to me over the weekend that it's twenty years ago tomorrow that Graeme Hick made 405 not out there for Worcestershire, a monumental innings which remained the highest first-class score made in England during the twentieth century. In fact twenty years ago today he was just settling in, and he finished the first day unbeaten on 179.

My memories of the day it happened are crystal clear. At the time I was approaching the end of my three years at Warwick University, and, while I'd never, at that time, visited Taunton, I was obsessed with Graeme Hick and thought (didn't everyone?) that he was going to be the greatest batsman of his generation (in the world, never mind England). Having seen his overnight score I was trying to revise for my finals when I heard on the radio that he was ploughing on towards a score the like of which those of us born after the era of Bradman, Ponsford and Hanif Mohammed had never known.

I obviously can't remember exactly how many he had when I heard about it, but it was probably about 370, and I spent the next hour in a state of febrile excitement as I waited to hear whether he'd made it to 400.

At the time, of course, I didn't think I'd ever see anyone else do it, let alone make 500. But then, at that time, few people outside the West indies had heard of Brian Lara.

If you'd told me at the time that he'd still be playing for Worcestershire twenty years later I wouldn't have believed you. But then if you'd told me he'd finish his Test career with just six centuries and an average of 31, I wouldn't have believed that either.

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