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Hodge comeback bid ruled out

ESPNcricinfo staff

February 5, 2013

Comments: 16 | Text size: A | A

Brad Hodge smashed a 38-ball 58 but his side lost a tight contest, Barisal Burners v Rangpur Riders, Bangladesh Premier League, Khulna, January 23, 2013
Brad Hodge's BPL duty has counted against his return to the Victorian squad © Bangladesh Cricket Board
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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.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by British_North_America on (February 6, 2013, 18:21 GMT)

Hodhe will be paid around US $150k for playing in the BPL.How much for Sheffield Shield and Australia?

Posted by Samdanh on (February 6, 2013, 7:30 GMT)

@dwblurb: You are right. They were exposed by a quality and determined Eng side recently on their own arrogantly designed dustbowls. My only concern is that the current Aus Test team does not seem to have such quality batsmen. That is why I will be happy if Aus team at least competes well and will be surprised if they win a match. Having said that I expect Aus bowlers to do well. The side that bats long and well would win the series

Posted by Beertjie on (February 5, 2013, 23:03 GMT)

Bad luck Hodge, but also understandable. Now I wonder why the Victoria selectors couldn't have "Conversations with the national selectors [to] indicate whether it was [likely or] unlikely [Rogers]would be considered for Tests." That would ease that team-mates mind as well!

Posted by Mad_Hamish on (February 5, 2013, 13:46 GMT)

Hodge is 38, he hasn't played a first class match in 3 years. Very little evidence that he could get back to the required level in the time and deciding to go off to play 20-20s in Bangladesh rather than actually make himself available for the shield makes it an even harder sell.

Posted by anuajm on (February 5, 2013, 9:24 GMT)

@Dwblurb - Fair enough, it was always a long shot of Hodge even getting remotely close to the Aussies team if if he scored really well..I think you are being practical which is perfect..I agree to your thoughts, thanks..

Posted by dwblurb on (February 5, 2013, 7:51 GMT)

@Samdanh "For succeeding with batting in India conditions, loads of patience to play long building innings, determination, training and technique to play spin, and application are required"

That is all fair enough. Do India have the quality of slow bowlers to exploit turning conditions and batsmen inexperienced in those conditions. On recent form, that is a big question mark. And a far as pace bowlers are concerned ...

Posted by dwblurb on (February 5, 2013, 7:47 GMT)

@ anuajm "Where were you when Hodge was playing the hit and giggle big bash?"

I was right here, trying to ignore all the nonsense as best I could.

It's pretty simple. If you want to play Tests for Australia, you play Sheffield Shield. Hodge has for the last two years become one of the itinerant band of superannuated 'guns for hire' who play the T20 leagues around the world. Which is fair enough, he had a long and reasonably distinguished career for Victoria and some English counties, and deserves anything he can make in the twilight of his career. It is NOT, however, what one the selectors are looking for when it comes to taking on the England bowlers at Trent Bridge or Lord's.

As I wrote before, he could have made himself available for Victoria's match on February 18th if he was serious about the whole thing. It is NOT the fact that he is playing BBL that is "being held against him", it is the fact that he hasn't played a FC match for over 2 years.

Posted by anuajm on (February 5, 2013, 7:16 GMT)

I think age is a very overstated concept in sports. Ideally it should always be form and fitness. Hodge should have got into the Aussie side when greats of Australia retired. Typical example is Badrinath from India who is 31-32 years old, but has been considered 'old' by the selectors for the last 4-5 years. Both Badri and Hodge have been unlucky. Ironically, their luck has been controlled by 5-10 people who happened to be selectors when these guys were in their prime but getting older..

Posted by anuajm on (February 5, 2013, 7:07 GMT)

@dwlblurb - Where were you when Hodge was playing the hit and giggle big bash? Why no question then? Hodge is trying to create himself an opportunity out of thin air. I am sure if the selectors wanted him to play SS, he would have skipped the BPL. With no such surity, he is trying to balance both, play in BPL and then some first class to see if their is any possibility of getting through the Australian ranks. He is a classy batsman, given a chance in domestic cricket, he probably will perform and then only merit his selection. That was Argus said right?

Posted by anuajm on (February 5, 2013, 7:01 GMT)

With the immense service Brad Hodge has given to the Australian cricket, Victoria should have given him a chance to play and push for a selection for the Ashes, however unlikely that is. I am sure the younger players will only benefit with his wealth of experience. Its evident that with his chances seemingly low, Hodge would not miss an opportunity to get some easy money. Just because he played in BPL should not go against him. When Australia expects and promotes another 20-20 league like BB and expects all its players to play in that, the players have the right to chose to play for other 20-20 leagues across the world and that should not really go against them in any way.

Posted by dwblurb on (February 5, 2013, 6:33 GMT)

D.V.C., the Argus Report recommended a greaterrecognition of domestic form. Hodge HAD no domestic form, not having played a Shield match for over 2 years. The level of his committment to this supposed Test comeback can be gauged by the fact that, instead of returning to Australia and making himself available for Victoria, he has continued with ethe 'challenges' of the Bangladesh T20 hit-and-giggle, and would have been available for TWO Shield matches only.

Posted by D.V.C. on (February 5, 2013, 5:49 GMT)

It seems the only thing they didn't consider is whether he was the best player available to them. The very thing the Argus review said was most important, wasn't it? Or did I miss something?

Posted by greatshinwari on (February 5, 2013, 5:13 GMT)

Hodge must be included into the aussie test team bkz the team lacks experience and he provides experience and also he is nice batsman..should be included in the team as regualar batsman

Posted by Meety on (February 5, 2013, 4:52 GMT)

When it appeared he wasn't coming back to Oz immediately & opting to continue on playing in the BPL, I would of been surprised if Victoria took him on. He'd barely have 2 games to play (even assuming direct entry into the Shield team).

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