Australia news January 21, 2013

Hodge ponders Ashes bid

Brad Hodge is seriously considering a last-gasp effort to push for a spot on the Ashes tour, and Victoria's selectors have discussed the possibility of finding room for him in the closing three Sheffield Shield matches of the summer.

Currently playing in the Bangladesh Premier League, 38-year-old Hodge has revealed that he is weighing up the possibility of a return to the Victorian Shield team in the closing months of the season.

ESPNcricinfo understands this has been a topic of conversation at the Bushrangers' selection meetings, which have factored in filling the hole left should David Hussey and/or Glenn Maxwell be chosen for the four-Test tour of India that begins in February.

While Hodge will not be considered for Victoria's next Shield fixture against South Australia at Adelaide Oval from Thursday, he may yet turn out in their matches against Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania. The Bushrangers are currently second on the table, level on points with the Bulls but returning an inferior quotient.

"Would I like to play for Australia? Of course, everyone would," Hodge said after making 53 for Barisal against Khulna in Dhaka. "I probably deserved to play a little bit more when I had the opportunity. It seems that there seems to be a lot more rotating players than when I was in my prime.

"I am still playing good enough to represent Australia I think. But I do believe that my opportunity is passed. Having said that I am considering after this tournament, to go back to four-day cricket and have a quick shot at trying to make the Ashes team."

Hodge's outstanding form for the Melbourne Stars during the BBL once again raised the question about where he ranked among all batsmen still playing the game in Australia, having played the last of his six Tests in 2008. He was third behind Shaun Marsh and Luke Pomersbach on the competition aggregates, and made his runs at a faster rate than either.

"You know what, I wouldn't even write off Brad Hodge," Shane Warne said earlier this month. "He is in the best form of his life and you look around at who's the best young player going around. There's so many but I think it's really important Australia have that mix of experience and youth.There's no point in picking two or three young blokes for the sake of it because they're young. They've still got to earn their spot."

Asked about Hodge's prospects of a return to the national Twenty20 team, the national selector John Inverarity said he was "very unlikely" to be called up for the shortest format. "You'd never say never but unlikely," he said.

Nevertheless, Australia's planning for 2013 has been thrown significantly by the retirement of Michael Hussey, leaving the Test side short of a senior batsman. Brad Haddin's chances of tours to India and England have been greatly enhanced by the experience gap, and Hodge is now looking at trying his luck.

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

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