Australia news February 5, 2013

Hodge comeback bid ruled out

ESPNcricinfo staff

Victoria have killed off Brad Hodge's faint Ashes hopes, electing not to take the former Test batsman up on his offer to play for the Bushrangers in the closing Sheffield Shield matches of the season.

Last month Hodge indicated he was keen to play for Victoria on his return home from the Bangladesh Premier League, putting his hand up to make a late bid for selection in Australia's squad to tour England later in 2013.

However after discussing the matter at selection, the state side has chosen to rebuff Hodge's entreaties in favour of younger players. Conversations with the national selectors indicated that it was unlikely Hodge would be considered for Tests.

The fact that Hodge was playing in the BPL after the Big Bash League, rather than being available to play as soon as the Shield resumed, was also a factor.

"If the race was going to be run it's run out of time because he has taken himself off [to Bangladesh]," Victoria's chairman of selectors, Andrew Lynch, told The Age. "We would have had to have got going in South Australia which couldn't have occurred because he'd left.

"We're looking forward rather than back and while it was nice to think it might have been a fairytale selection for the Ashes, the bottom line is they told us they would be unlikely to pick him. Never say never, but highly unlikely.

"We add all those pieces up; not being here, our situation where we want to look to the future and the highly unlikely possibility of it and it would have been all too rushed. So we're not going forward with that."

Victoria have numerous players on the fringes of international selection, younger batsmen like Aaron Finch jostling with more experienced heads such as Chris Rogers and Andrew McDonald, who is making a gradual return from injury.

Lynch said the Bushrangers wanted to press for a batsman to be included in the national team in the long-term, rather than granting Hodge a quick path back.

"[Glenn] Maxwell is on the verge as an all-rounder but we want to get a batsman into the Test side," Lynch said. "It would have been a very short term focus and we're not going to go down that road."

Victoria's decision means Hodge's next assignment will be the IPL, where he is contracted to Rajasthan Royals.

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