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January 24, 2012

Australia

The curious cases of Hogg and Bailey

Jarrod Kimber
Brad Hogg picked up two wickets in the BBL semi-final, Perth Scorchers v Melbourne Stars, BBL, 1st semi-final, Perth, January 21, 2012
So what if Brad Hogg is 40?  © Getty Images
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Brad Hogg’s comeback and George Bailey’s rise don’t seem to have made people all that angry.

That’s odd, isn’t it?

Australia have picked an oldy and a dude to replace a dude with roughly the same record of the other dude who is slightly older. Where is the disdain, the outrage, the editorial’s sprouting anti-Victorian intent and how Australia are overlooking their future for some old dude the commentators all like?

Australia have picked a player who has been retired for years. I’m not even sure we knew that Justin Bieber was a thing when Brad Hogg last played, and Zach Galifianakis was a fat funny dude starring in such classics as Speed Freaks. Hogg isn’t exactly Bob Simpson, who was dragged from a retirement village to save Australian cricket.

I suppose if your lifestyle-hosting career is working well or you’re dating a famous model/actor/it girl, you don’t need to make a comeback at 40, but for Hogg it makes perfect sense. Statistically you can make an argument for Hogg. His economy rate is 5.4, he takes wickets, and no one has a better strike-rate on twitter abusing Mitchell Marsh. The only number not on his side is his age.

However, if you see Twenty20 as a way of easing young Australian cricketers into the team, then picking a guy who’s been retired four years who is only year younger than your selector is odd.

Then there is Bailey, who I am really glad is being given a chance to captain any Australian XI, but it’s not as if he’s hitting the captaincy with a stellar Twenty20 season behind him.

And age is also quite odd, as he’s a few months younger than Michael Clarke, and only a few months older than Cameron White. There’s no doubt Bailey can captain, he’s won more than his share of silverware, but so has White. Neither White nor Bailey made a cracker in a high class and low performance Melbourne Stars middle order this year.

You’d think that one of these decisions, if not both would be the catalyst for the first vicious attack on the John Inverarity reign as chief selector.

But it’s quite clear that virtually no one cares. Australians may casually enjoy the Big Bash League, and they may even make the trek down to see the odd match, but at the end of the day, you could have a man with a rubber chicken stuck to his head as captain and some bloke’s dog as the spinner and people would still spend more time discussing Shaun Marsh’s form or whether Punter (Ponting) should retire.

For all the hype and concern, Twenty20 is still just that thing people watch.

Jarrod Kimber is 50% of the Two Chucks, and the mind responsible for cricketwithballs.com

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Posted by Shane Legge on (January 30, 2012, 5:41 GMT)

Is that blokes dog a offie or a leggie? If he is an offie and he has a doosra then seeya later Nathan Lyon, that blokes dog is about to make his test debut in the Windies.

Posted by David on (January 28, 2012, 11:21 GMT)

"However, if you see Twenty20 as a way of easing young Australian cricketers into the team." It's not. The point of the Twenty20 squad is to win the world cup.

Posted by dunger.bob on (January 25, 2012, 23:21 GMT)

Yep, its a sideshow allright. The chicken suite is a good idea actually. I'd pay to watch that. .. I can understand the Hogg decision actually. .. The man was a very, very good ODI player and brings something to a team that is invigorating. .. They talk about picking on performance so I guess he meets that criteria. The Bailey decision is a little more mysterious but, as you say, who the hell really cares anyway.

Posted by Adam on (January 25, 2012, 10:20 GMT)

The first T20I between Australia and New Zealand was the best form of T20 international cricket. It was a hit and giggle, almost a "legends" match. The players had nicknames on the back of their shirts, some were wired up so they could talk to the commentators. It was pure cricketainment.

Posted by Luke on (January 25, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

Sums us up pretty well I think. We will watch T20 cricket but we dont care about it.

Posted by praxis on (January 25, 2012, 6:53 GMT)

Detesting T20, I'll jump at any chance to bash this format & its fans. Jarrod Kimber has probably written in the best way for me to be happy. Nobody actually cares about this format, at least the normal people around me. I also don't think that many people keep track of who's playing for which team. Really, "For all the hype and concern, Twenty20 is still just that thing people watch."

Posted by Matt on (January 24, 2012, 23:15 GMT)

Very well put - no outrage, because no one really cares. Cameron White the obvious exception.

Posted by David from Sydney on (January 24, 2012, 23:10 GMT)

In all honesty, I could not agree more. Twenty20 is good to watch, but I have not one shred of emotional investment in whether Australia win or lose at it. Test matches on the other hand...

Posted by PDTM on (January 24, 2012, 21:14 GMT)

Nothing gets Victorian's goats like dumping a Victorian; but everyone accepted halfway through the BBL that White was out of here. After that, they don't care.

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