Compact and strongly-built, Andy Pick – born Robert Andrew Pick in Nottingham on 19 November 1963 – was not a typical quick bowler but he was genuinely fast and hostile, with the ability to bowl spells at 90mph – as plenty of county batsmen would testify.
A cricketer who would break the dressing room tension with an appropriate quip, Andy joined the Notts playing staff in 1983. He had already gained a reputation as a good seam bowler at schoolboy level and in his early cricket, for his local village club Thrumpton and for Unity Casuals. His First-Class debut for Notts was against Hampshire at Bournemouth in 1983 – an expensive initiation as he went for 0-101 in Hampshire’s first innings. The game was more notable for a couple of landmarks for other players – Clive Rice passed 16,500 in First-Class cricket when he reached 70 in Notts’s first innings and Malcolm Marshall, another compact and lively fast bowler, took his 300th County Championship wicket when he had Basher Hassan caught for 53 in Nottinghamshire’s second innings.
In that same year, Andy played in three England Under-19 Tests v Australia; Paul Johnson and Peter Such were in the same England squad. He secured a regular place in the Notts First Team in 1984 and, except when unavailable through injury, was a key member of the squad for more than a dozen years.
In 1986 he reached fifty wickets for the first time, but in 1987 he produced two splendid performances in limited overs matches. Early in the season Pick took 4-42 enabling Notts to beat Northants in the Benson & Hedges game, then in August he returned 5-22, bowling out Gloucester for 82 and putting Notts in the NatWest Final.
On both occasions he was the recipient of the Man of the Match Award. It would have seemed that 1988 would be his year, but in May he had to have an operation in his wrist, which kept him off the field for six weeks. On his comeback appearance, he broke down with a stress fracture in his back. 1990 however saw a return to his old form, so much so that he went with England A to Sri Lanka and ended the tour top of the bowling averages.
Returning to England he had his best summer to date with 67 first-class wickets. Although his only representative game that summer was for MCC v Champion County, he made a second trip with England A in 1991/92 to Bermuda and West Indies. On this tour Pick played in the first and third unofficial Tests, in Port of Spain and in Bridgetown.
The possibility of a call up for the full England team in 1992 disappeared when Pick was side lined by a shoulder injury which his reduced his First-Class matches that summer to just 10. By coincidence the bowler who seemed likely to fill the international gap left by Pick was his brother-in-law, David Millns, now playing for Leicestershire.
Between 1983 and 1997, Pick took 495 First-Class wickets at 33.24, a tally that includes 16 five-wicket hauls, and a ‘ten-fer’ on three occasions and a top performance of 7-128; five times he took more than 50 first class wickets in a season. He was a member of the county championship winning side of 1987 and played in two Lord’s one-day final victories for Notts. In List-A games he notched up a further 242 wickets at 31.92 with a best of 5-22 and two five-wicket innings.
His batting was always entertaining and often effective – he made 2,259 First-Class runs with a top score of 65no, and 631 List-A runs, with his best in that format being 58, also not out.
After retiring from top-level cricket, Pick played a handful of times for Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire before turning to coaching where he achieved his ECB Level 4 qualification. Pick began his coaching career at Bedford School, tutoring Alastair Cook, among others. From there, he moved to the North East, before becoming coach for the England Under 19s that he took to the 2004 & 2006 U-19 World Cups before being appointed by the Canadian Cricket Association to coach that country's national team in the run-up to the 2007 World Cup. Canada performed admirably against both England and New Zealand and scored over 200 in both games, the only Associate team to pass that figure. His last overseas placement was as High Performance Manager for the USA’s Cricket Association.
Since returning to his old stamping ground in 2014, Pick’s specialist knowledge has helped develop the county’s fast bowlers and he has also worked with the full England side.
Pick's role now at Trent Bridge as the Notts Pathway bowling guru means he is identifying talent from the Notts Under 13s onwards to the first team, signposting and encouraging emerging bowlers; if he finds another ‘Andy Pick’, Notts will do very well from his efforts.