Australia v England, 2nd Twenty20, Melbourne

Veteran Hodge called up for second Twenty20

Brydon Coverdale

January 30, 2014

Comments: 48 | Text size: A | A

Brad Hodge lines up to play a shot during his innings of 64, Sydney Thunder v Melbourne Stars, Big Bash League 2013-14, Sydney, January 1, 2014
Brad Hodge is Twenty20 cricket's leading run scorer of all time © Getty Images
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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 here

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Posted by siddhartha87 on (January 31, 2014, 7:27 GMT)

Hodge should have been a permanent player across all the formats a long time ago. Very disappointed with the way he is treated by the selectors in last 7-8 years:|

Posted by maverick0208 on (January 31, 2014, 5:45 GMT)

One of the most unfortunate cricketers to have ever played the game so I am absolutely thrilled he finally got a call up to at least play T20. Reality is that he could still deliver at test or ODI level and would have much rathered see him than Phil (how many chances do I get) Hughes on a plane to South Africa.

Posted by Ms.Cricket on (January 30, 2014, 23:53 GMT)

Even better would be for Brad Hodge to be on the Test plane to South Africa instead of Phil Hughes. Hodge did little wrong in his short Test career and was very unlucky to be ignored for no given reason.

Posted by dorothydix on (January 30, 2014, 22:38 GMT)

Very good selection. But why not before?? He is without a doubt one of the best T20 as he can hit on both sides of the wicket equally well. Pick the best team whether players are 20 or 40 years old.

Posted by Chris_P on (January 30, 2014, 21:31 GMT)

If the selectors were looking at the numbers of his form the past few years rather than the numbers after his age, he would have been selected sooner. That's what counts, if he is delivering at 38 then select him. Good move & it will please the Victorians!

Posted by sharidas on (January 30, 2014, 18:05 GMT)

Extremely happy for Brad. He deserves to be in the Australian squad not just for twenty/20, but tests too.

Posted by jb633 on (January 30, 2014, 17:18 GMT)

The best T20 bastman in the world I think. It astonishes me that he has not represented Aus in T20 since its inauguration. Class player.

Posted by fernandotorres on (January 30, 2014, 12:11 GMT)

Finally the selectors make a decision they should have made ages ago! Hodge has captained Barisal Burners, one of the sides in Bangladesh Premier League; the only foreign captain in the league. He is top scorer in the history of the league with 756 runs and his experience of playing all over Bangladesh will help the team a lot! Although Lynn, Dunk etc have had a decent Big Bash, a big question remains whether they can cut it in Bangladesh! Hodge will be a much safer bet in Bangladesh. Hope he is on that plane to Bangladesh!

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (January 30, 2014, 10:00 GMT)

RednWhiteArmy, that's pretty funny. Glad you found a place for Bruce Reid as 12th. But I'd give him a shot in the 11, as the public feel sorry that his first run in the Aussie team was cut short by injury.

Posted by StarveTheLizard on (January 30, 2014, 10:00 GMT)

Melbourne is his home ground. He probably knows that Melbourne pitch as well as anyone. I think it's a good choice.

On another note, can anyone tell me why a batsmen with an international 200 under his belt was consistently ignored by the selectors throughout his career?

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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