Australians welcome old foe as batting coach
FORMER England star Graeme Hick is set to face up to his old team after taking on the role of Australia batting coach.
Hick has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal that will keep him in the job until early 2020.
During that time there will be an Ashes tour Down Under, a World Cup and the Champions Trophy for the Zimbabwean-born batsmen to get his teeth into.
Hick, a renowned top-class player of spin during his playing days, will firstly have the job of helping Australia's batsmen overcome their apparent failings against the turning ball.
After a 3-0 Test series loss in Sri Lanka where the home spinners held sway, the Aussies will face up to Pakistan at home this summer, with a bowling attack that includes leg-spinning sensation Yasir Shah.
After that Australia will head back to the sub-continent in February and March to face its demons on the dry turning wickets in a four-Test tour of India.
Australia coach Darren Lehmann was full of praise for Hick.
"He is a very experienced player in all conditions and will bring a wealth of knowledge with him,” Lehmann said in a statement.
"His knowledge of those conditions will also be invaluable.”
Hick was Australia's high-performance coach in 2013 and took up a temporary position in the team's successful one-day tri-series in West Indies against the hosts and South Africa.
The 50-year-old, who scored 3383 runs in 65 Tests for England, has also recently worked with Australia's under-19 squad and the national performance squad.
He takes over the role full-time from Michael Di Venuto, who moved to coach English county Surrey in March.
"To take the next step up with the men's team and getting the opportunity to work with some of the best players in the world is something I am really looking forward to,” Hick said.
Greg Blewett will return to the role of fielding coach after he stood in as batting mentor on the recent tour of Sri Lanka.