Ashes: Graeme Hick warns England to expect tougher challenge
England are being warned they will face a much sterner challenge from a "different" Australia side.
Last Updated: 07/11/13 9:43am
Graeme Hick, who played 65 Tests for England between 1991 and 2001 and finished his prolific first-class career with 136 hundreds, is coaching Australia A against the tourists in the on-going match at the Bellerive Oval.
After a second-day washout in Hobart, Hick - employed by Cricket Australia as a high performance coach - made it clear he does not expect England to have an easy a time over the next two months.
Alastair Cook's tourists were prevented by rain from adding to his and Michael Carberry's unbroken stand of 318 on day one.
England may therefore have limited opportunity, in whatever remains of this match with an uncertain forecast for the next two days, and then in Sydney next week to assess the merits of those pushing for the undecided places at number six in the batting order and as third seamer.
Irrespective of that inconvenience, Hick believes Australia will be tougher nuts to crack on home soil as England eye a fourth successive Ashes series victory.
"I think Australia will certainly be a different team, even if it's the same personnel," the 47-year-old former Worcestershire batsman said.
"I think they'll definitely have more of a go and certainly give England more of a challenge.
"I'm certainly expecting it to be a lot closer."
Hick could not help but be impressed, however, by what he has seen in Hobart from Carberry - 153 not out at stumps on day one, to Cook's 154 - as the journeyman left-hander continues to state a compelling case for a Test comeback after a solitary cap more than three years ago.
"He had an opportunity, and he certainly took it," he said.
"I thought he left the ball very well, and was certainly very disciplined, got himself in well and capitalised on it."