If you thought T20 slogging is mostly about impoverished improvisations, Brad Hodge provided something different during his magnificent onslaught against the Chennai Super Kings on Monday. It was straight hitting through the line of the ball with telling effect without trying things fancy and trendy.
The Victorian veteran, who appears infinitely more calm off the field in comparison to the pace he sets on the pitch, said that’s his natural game and that he doesn’t believe that resorting to the emerging methods of quick scoring is necessary.
“I believe I’m more skilled at hitting the ball to the areas I want to. I’m more comfortable clearing the fence in the simplest way possible and that’s about going straight. I know that players these days are trying shots of different sorts and I’ve tried them out during practice with some success. I still back by ability to hit them where I’m trying to,” Hodge told HT after returning from Pretoria on Monday night following his massive effort.
The man with a Test average of over 55, including a double century against South Africa in Perth, is unhappy that his exploits have not been enough to win him a permanent place in the Australia XI. “It hurts to be not a part of the best team in the world and to get dropped right after playing a significant innings.”
His consolation still is to be someone who is “respected in international cricket” and he ranks his stint with the Kolkata Knight Riders as a confirmation of that. “I didn’t get a chance to do much last year after being called on for Australia duty. But what I’ve done this year and in this match (against Chennai Super Kings) is right up there (with the best of his achievements in international cricket).”
The 35-year-old admits it’s frustrating to be left out of the Australian side time and again despite doing well in whatever opportunities he has got. “I bat at No 3 and with Ricky Ponting around, I’ve to compete very hard. It’s not bad then to be competing against and to be compared with the best player in the world.”
Hodge however is trying to bury this disappointment by playing an important hand in the IPL. “I’m glad that I’ve played some notable knocks. I understand that expectations from this team are huge and I’m glad to have repaid at least a bit of that. It was frustrating for us this time but maybe things will be different next year.”
That will be eagerly awaited. There are very few in international cricket these days, who rely on the conventional methods of aggression and pull them off successfully. Hodge is one of them and he has proved that in IPL II. Take a look at his performance this year for confirmation.