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January 30, 2014
Brad Hodge could play his first match for Australia in nearly six years after being called into the squad for the second Twenty20 in Melbourne on Friday.
At 39, Hodge is Twenty20 cricket's leading run scorer of all time, with 5844 at an average of 36.98 from his 209 matches in the format, and could be a valuable player at the upcoming World T20 in Bangladesh if the selectors chose to utilise his experience.
However, while the Melbourne match could be viewed as an audition for the World T20, Hodge's chances of playing in that tournament appear slim with Shane Watson and David Warner to return to the top of the order in addition to the men who beat England in Hobart on Wednesday.
The allrounder Moises Henriques played in that victory but will now fly to South Africa for the Test tour and Cricket Australia confirmed that Hodge would be added to the squad for the Melbourne game as a replacement for Henriques.
Whether Hodge will stay with the group for the third T20 in Sydney on Sunday remains to be seen but whatever the case, the call-up should give him a chance to play international cricket for the first time since the Test tour of West Indies in May 2008.
The last of his eight T20 internationals came almost six years ago to the day, at the MCG on February 1, 2008, when Adam Gilchrist was still part of a side that accounted for India.
Hodge's recall is comparable to the call-up of a 40-year-old Brad Hogg in January 2012, when he was picked on BBL form and with a World T20 in spinning conditions in Sri Lanka on the horizon.
"I never thought this day would happen again and it's a pleasing day to wake up, the sun was shining this morning and I got the call from John Inverarity and it was a nice pleasant surprise," Hodge said in Melbourne on Thursday. "I've probably had the game for a long time and I don't need to call on anything else other than experience to know exactly what I can do.
"I probably gave up the hope I suppose. I never gave up the thought of trying to achieve what I wanted to, and that was to play for Australia, but you felt that if things didn't happen before they certainly weren't going to happen now. But new regime, new sights and it's come my way, which is very pleasing."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Brydon Coverdale
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