Hodge’s next assignment will be the IPL
Australia veteran batsman Brad Hodge, who had a grand plan of making an international comeback during this year’s back-to-back Ashes series, was left bitterly disappointed after Victoria decided not to select him for the last few games of the Sheffield Shield season, which he was planning to use as a launchpad for his dazzling return to Test cricket after an absence of nearly five years.
Hodge was looking forward to the last few games of the Sheffield Shield season after participating in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), but to his, and many other people’s surprise, he was sidelined and the little spark of hope he had for making his international return was crushed.
Hodge was cast to the side as Victoria decided to give some of their younger players an opportunity to play at the domestic level and, according to conversations the national selectors had, Hodge was all but out of the running to make the Test squad for the back-to-back Ashes series this year.
However, the national selectors placed some of the blame on Hodge himself, stating that instead of playing first-class cricket after the conclusion of the Big Bash League (BBL), he opted to travel to Bangladesh and play in the BPL.
“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 a numerous amount of other talented players besides Hodge, and a majority of them seem likely to be regulars in the national team sooner rather than later.
Lynch noted that he wanted to find a batsman who would be a long-term asset to the national side instead of allowing Hodge to experience one final hurrah before he considers retiring from the sport.
“[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.”
With Hodge all but out of the running to get into the national team, his next assignment will be representing the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL), which is scheduled to begin on April 3.