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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Meety on January 23, 2013, 11:56 GMT

    @Gavin Frantz - I agree with the "unluckiest" bit, but not the "unfair" part. @John Baker - really good point.

  • dummy4fb on January 23, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    This is why Victoria will never be as good as NSW, picking a guy who retired several seasons ago to help them win the Shield instead of trusting a younger guy who might have a future.

  • dummy4fb on January 23, 2013, 2:20 GMT

    Hodge and MacGill, two of the unluckiest if not the most unfairly treated cricketers Australia have ever produced in the modern era. Classic cases of wrong place wrong time. Nothing against the current selection panel though, if they had been around earlier perhaps these guys would have gotten a fair go

  • Cricket_theBestGame on January 23, 2013, 0:57 GMT

    i never really understood why hodge was sidelined from international cricket. the last i remember him was making a test century against S.Africa on boxing day i think and never picked again!! he avgs 52+ in handful of tests he's played. i recall in one interview he said "you can't do much when the captain and the coach don't want you in the team" ! ponting get up and take your baggy green off for ruining international career of a great player in the making !!

  • Okakaboka on January 22, 2013, 13:51 GMT

    The opportunity to correct the biggest selection injustice of all time is there. News for you Inverarity....the worst test batsman I ever saw: Hodge is the best current batsman in Australia and is only 80 Kabillion trillion times better than you ever were. Message is: 'Pick him'!

  • Hammond on January 22, 2013, 5:48 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge - mate you'd better hope that Hodge doesn't play, he is still good enough to do some serious damage. Brad Hodge is probably the best batsman Australia have produced in the last 20 years, and he never got a decent go at the top level. Even in his twilight he is still a mighty batsman.

  • Sunil_Batra on January 22, 2013, 5:05 GMT

    I don't think you can question Hodge's talent, but if he plays any young player(i.e Khawaja, Hughesetc) that have a chance of becoming a regular test cricketer will be thrown out the window. The ashes is a perfect time to see which up and coming player has what it takes to be something special. Take him as maybe a backup. Starting XI for the Ashes series (if all fit) Warner, Watson, Hughes, Khawaja, Clarke, Wade, Haddin, Siddle, Pattinson, Lyon, Bird, Starc 12th man.

  • zenboomerang on January 22, 2013, 1:06 GMT

    If Oz is looking for a reliable senior top order batsman it would be very hard to go past either Chris Rogers (35y.o.) or Adam Voges (33y.o.) - personally like Voges (stats similar to Watson) as a rh bat & lao bowler - would be handy on the India tour & O'Keefe is a similar player who fits as a lower order bat for that series...

  • zenboomerang on January 22, 2013, 1:05 GMT

    @Daniel Brettig... Think you have misrepresented Brad in this article... Hodge did say - "Would I like to play for Australia? Of course, everyone would" followed by "But I do believe that my opportunity is passed" - think that says it all really... Basically he is returning to SS to bolster Vic's chances of playing in the finals with D Huss &/or Maxwell likely to be missing some games...

  • biggersn on January 22, 2013, 0:16 GMT

    I think that selecting Hodge would be a retrograde step - he is still a good player but we need to nuture talent for the future rather than selecting a 38 year old. It's a shame that his grammar is not up to the standard of his batting - "playing good enough to represent Australia"? Surely he means "playing well enough"!