Batsman sets sights on the Ashes July 20, 2006

Neck injury ends Hodge's county season

Cricinfo staff

Brad Hodge's stint with Lancashire is over © Getty Images

The neck problem Brad Hodge suffered in the Top End Series will prevent him from returning to Lancashire for the second half of the county season. Hodge, who experienced pain in his shoulder scoring 56 against India A, has been diagnosed with a bulging disc and is expected to be out for up to six weeks.

"That's it, no county cricket," Hodge said in The Age. "It's a bulging disc which is pressing on the nerve which has caused all the problems. I haven't been able to feel my arm, [had] knife pains through my shoulder. I just couldn't bat so that was the problem, which was a shame because I was playing pretty well."

Hodge lost his Test place for the tour of South Africa, but he has impressed with a hundred in the Pura Cup final and 372 runs at 74.4 in the County Championship. He also posted a century in Australia A's match against New Zealand A. "When I was up there what [chairman of selectors Andrew] Hilditch and the selectors would have seen they would have been impressed with," Hodge told the paper. "If they don't know what I can do after 120 first-class games then you are going to be wasting time."

Despite the interruption to his winter, Hodge, who has a new son named Jesse, believed the break from the game would be helpful. "Instead of coming back maybe a little bit fatigued from England, come September I will be fresh and ready to go," he said. "I am confident I will play a part in the Ashes ... whether it is the first Test or not I am not sure."