India in Australia 2011-12

Brad Hogg's return no joke

Daniel Brettig

January 29, 2012

Comments: 15 | Text size: A | A

Brad Hogg picked up two wickets in the BBL semi-final, Perth Scorchers v Melbourne Stars, BBL, 1st semi-final, Perth, January 21, 2012
Brad Hogg: "The first ball I bowled in the BBL wasn't too flash and I thought 'what the hell have I done here' © Getty Images

Brad Hogg is adamant he will be more than a 40-year-old sideshow in Australia's Twenty20 plans, starting with two matches against India in Sydney and Melbourne.

Having earned his spot in the national Twenty20 side via a startling return to the game in the Big Bash League, Hogg now intends to prove his worth for a second time in international cricket, having carved out a successful ODI career before his retirement in 2008.

While his selection has provoked some debate about the state of Australia's spin stocks, Hogg said he had grown immeasurably in his confidence since turning heads with the Perth Scorchers.

"I'm not here for anything other than helping Australia prepare for a Twenty20 World Cup," Hogg said in Sydney where the Australian Twenty20 team convened. "I've been out of it for three and a half years and to get selected after what's happened with the Perth Scorchers [losing BBL finalists] has been fantastic. I've got a lot of pride in myself and I want to make sure I do what I did three and a half years ago - and that was work hard and do my best out on the field.

"Hopefully I can get two or three more years out of it but we'll just see how it plays out. Am I going to embarrass myself? Those sort of thoughts were going through my mind when I signed up [for the BBL], but once I got over those initial thoughts I thought, 'no stuff it. I've been out of it three and a half years, I'm feeling good, go and give it a go. Life's all about opportunities and this opportunity won't come again.

"Mickey Arthur [then the Scorchers coach] rang me up and he said 'are you interested?' I'd been playing a bit of grade cricket up until then and I sat there and had a look at a few things, I thought am I good enough to play first-class cricket again?

"The first ball I bowled in the BBL wasn't too flash and I thought 'what the hell have I done here', and I got run out in that particular game as well, but after that first ball the nerves went away and I was fine it felt like I hadn't been out of the game really, I just felt like I was home again."

Hogg's place in Australia's plans is geared heavily towards the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September, and he has already been told a place on the Twenty20 leg of the West Indies tour in March is unlikely. A pair of decent displays against India will go close to assuring Hogg of his spot at the global event, while also strengthening his chance of being picked up in this year's IPL auction.

"I've spoken to the selectors, they've got a plan for it," he said. "I've told them my interest is to play a couple of tournaments around the world and to make sure my form is up to it leading into selection for the Twenty20 World Cup. I've been told I probably won't be going to the West Indies because it's probably a waste of resources and I'm getting enough cricket around other competitions.

"I'm hoping to get picked up [in the IPL] because when I made the comeback to the Perth Scorchers I thought stuff it, I'm fit enough to play and I want to make the most of my playing days, I've probably only got two or three more minutes to be able to play cricket, I've been commentating over in India for the last two or three years, and I thought I haven't played IPL, I want to go out and experience it."

The Hogg story is the latest chapter in spin bowling's Twenty20 renaissance, the flurry of slow bowlers encouraged by aggressive batsmen and shrewd captaincy to tempt their opponents into error. Hogg admitted he had held grave fears for the place of spin bowling in Twenty20 when it first began.

"I must admit when Twenty20 cricket came out I thought oh no, that game's not for spinners and all of a sudden it is," he said. "Because you take the pace off the ball and batsmen are trying to hit you out of the park, so you're there as a wicket-taking option but you've also got to have the ability to try and dry up runs when things aren't going well. So spinners do play their part and most teams are playing two frontline spinners and you wouldn't expect that in 50-over cricket four or five years ago, and opening the bowling too."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by suko99 on (February 1, 2012, 17:54 GMT)


Posted by   on (February 1, 2012, 3:09 GMT)

If Hoggy is half as good as he was in the Big Bash then Aussie cricket lovers are in for a treat. He is also great with the fans, unlike a lot of younger cricketers. Well deserved call up and good luck Hoggy!! India be afraid, you could be on ANOTHER downhill slide.

Posted by Bruisers on (January 31, 2012, 17:35 GMT)

@rahulcricket007 -" WHO CARES ABOUT T20 ?? IT'S MORE LIKE A LOTTERY SYSTEM , ONE GOOD INNINGS FROM EITHER SIDE & MATCH IS FINISHED" - lol that is as lame a comment as it could have got..

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 12:18 GMT)

it didnt shows anything else it only shows the lack of talent in australian cricket.. dont try to pull smethng out of nthng

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 10:26 GMT)

I always thought Hoggy was a good spin bowler, and his wrong'un in particular was awesome. Always seemed to bamboozle even the best batsmen. It comes as no surprise that he is able to mix it in the short form of the game, when batsmen simply don't have time to figure him out, but must go on the offensive from the start.

And while there can be no doubt that Australia's spin stocks have fallen away since the retirements of Warne, McGill and Hogg (and what country could afford to lose three such bowlers?!), I think the selection and use of the spin bowlers certainly hasn't helped. Don't give up hope of finding a competent spin bowler soon, Aussie fans.

Posted by   on (January 30, 2012, 21:15 GMT)

@rahulcricket007: "WHO CARES ABOUT T20 ?? IT'S MORE LIKE A LOTTERY SYSTEM , ONE GOOD INNINGS FROM EITHER SIDE & MATCH IS FINISHED ." Disagreed! Its not as simple as that!

Posted by AKS286 on (January 30, 2012, 15:24 GMT)

i guarantee that he is still the best Oz spinner add him to ODI & TEST too.

Posted by Tmalik on (January 30, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

Hoggy, give a go and i wish you best of luck Champ.... i am paki living in Perth followed all BB games and became big fan of you for another time..............

Posted by eyballfallenout on (January 30, 2012, 10:21 GMT)

wow, aussie selectors picking on form, hmmm Katich should keep his phone on.

Posted by Meety on (January 29, 2012, 23:12 GMT)

Hogg is a fine short form spin bowling allrounder. I think picking Hogg has absolutely ZERO relation to the state of spinners in Oz.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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