An open letter to Brad Hodge

Not since Kim Hughes’ impersonation of Claire Danes’ contorted cry face have Australia’s batting stocks been so bereft of world class performers.

But Hodgey, please, save your dignity and let sleeping dogs lie.

It’s one thing to flay poor mugs on bat friendly pitches in the cash bash circus, but as Shaun Marsh knows too well, Test cricket is named so for a reason.

I have little doubt your case for selection is no less compelling than any of Khawaja, Doolan, D Hussey, Watto, Fergie or Haddit.  And it is true that unlike Phil Hughes, your supposed weakness outside off stump never rendered your wicket as easy a prize as Lindsay Lohan, nor was it forgiven time and again on the big stage.

But let’s get real.  This 2013 Ashes team will make for more excruciating TV than Brynne Edelston’s Bedazzled Life.  Do you really want to repeatedly be taking block with the score at 2 for bugger all and that Duke ball swinging like a bitch?

Mate, at 55.88, your Australian Test average is bested only by The Don, Albert Trott (3 tests 118 years ago @102.5) and another Victorian great Jeff Moss (1 test @60.00). Your hard luck story keeps us aggrieved Bushranger fans warm at night.  You risk depriving us of our most gratifying source of martyrdom since Deano, who despite drowning in runs, also had his pass heinously stamped ‘never to return’.  What will we whinge about should your average drop below 45, as might be predicted?

Nevermind that Cricket Victoria resides in the shadows of the ‘G virtually next door to Cricket Australia, us Vics have revelled in being ignored by the national selectors.  Ever since #realopener Bill Lawry was dumped for batting like slow melting concrete (to quote a Barassi-ism), for decades they would rather eat a dog turd than pick a Vic.  Ask Jamie Siddons.  Even Wadey’s only a couple dropsies away from being the next Richie Robinson.

What worries me now is that in recent times Victorian players are getting the nod only to be used as patsies to protect bloody New South Welshman like Hughes (poor Quiney) and Starc (poor Hastings).  Old man Inverarity is just craaazy enough to have you jump out of the trenches and take a bullet so Haddin can return like the prodigal son.  Maybe even Usman, who’s so far been treated with a level of contempt previously reserved for your good self.

Brad, I take you back to what you said when you cracked the shits four years ago;

“I was struggling to find reasons as to why I wanted to play. I’ve always wanted to play Test cricket for as long as I can.  But what’s the difference if I get one more Test now? I want to play 30 or more, but that’s not going to happen. In my own mind I just didn’t want to go through it anymore.”

Hodgey don’t go messin’ with your batting average or CA (Cricket Average).  I know you must watch Inverarity’s merry-go-round and shake your head until you need a visit to the osteopath.  But you left at the top of your game; don’t risk sullying the legend of the most hard done by couldabeen all-time great batsman in the history of cricket.

I implore you Brad, take a leaf out of George Costanza’s book of showmanship.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

@JeffDowsing

 

 

About Jeff Dowsing

Washed up former Inside Sport and Sunday Age Sport freelancer. Now just giving my stuff away to good homes. Not to worry, still have my health and day job. Published & unpublished works fester on my blog Write Line Fever.

Comments

  1. Peter Flynn says:

    Cheers Jeff.

    Enjoyed the read. Hodge might think that since Ricky has gone (there’s a persistent rumour about why Hodge’s Test career came to an abrupt end) the coast is clear.

    Albert Trott ended on a Test average of 38 as he played for England before descending into alcoholism. He took his own life.

    Stuart Law doesn’t have an average.

  2. This rumour about Hodgey’s return has a bit of the “Warnie back for the Ashes” about it.
    I don’t like it at all.

    Whilst he still makes truckloads in the short forms of the game, Hodge’s technique is different these days. His either steps to leg with the intention of going over or through the off-side, or he plants his front leg well outside leg-stump and almost gets front-on to go through either leg or off.

    His timing was off in that he retired from First Class cricket too early. Who knows, had he not done so, he could well be in the Test team right now.

  3. DBalassone says:

    I still believe that the inclusion of Hodge in 2009 might have saved us the Ashes. But surely it’s too late now. Throw D.Hussey in for the Indian tour and let him go for broke.

    Love the George Costanza clip, there’s a bit of George in us all.

  4. John Butler says:

    Wise words indeed JD.

    So many elements currently conspire against picking a reasoned test side that I suppose Hodgey just thought “what the hell?”. Or at least his management did.

  5. Why would the “Nutty Professor’, and his cohorts even consider B Hodge ? I supprt D Hussey going to India as a ‘horses for courses’ selection, but Hodge needs to accept he was unlucky, though his career has been and gone.

    Brad, keep playing the 20-20, roll in the filthy lucre, but acknowledge, be proud you’ve played tests, but for our faltering batting you’re not the present, let alone the future. Bailey, Doolan, Kwahja, Ferguson, etc, need to be tried. Brad you won’t be returning.

    Glen!

  6. Jeff Dowsing says:

    You’re right Glen in the sense that if they refused to pick Hodge at 34 when in his prime then now would seem ridiculous. But should he play Shield and reel off a few tons… we are bloody desperate and we could do far worse – like Steve Smith FFS! And is 38 necessarily past it? Even Gooch made a lot of his runs at around 40, and Hodge seems a ‘young’ 38.

    But like pleading with an old girlfriend who dumped you 2-3 times already, why open yourself to another slap in the face? Mind you, if he helped win the Vics the Shield then it would be a nice way to round off his FC career.

  7. I remember Jeff Moss’s only test. Had a great year for the Vics leading up to it. Great Vic team that. Yallop, Weiner, Moss, Whatmore, Hibbert, Hurst, Higgs, Laughlin, Callen. Love the names.

    Good stuff Jeff and yes, Brad should hold on to the 50 average. It’ll always give him the last laugh about being hard done by.

  8. Jeff Moss only test was @ the WACA against Pakistan in early 1979. His team mate, and captain, Graham Yallop was out injured, so Moss after a stellar season was finally selected in the test side. Australia won the match; Andrew Hilditch was given out handled ball, Rodney Hogg “Mankaded’ Sikander Bakht, oh yes, and Australia won. It was a great victory, being one of only two victories in eight tests that summer. Jeff Moss sole test was a truly memorable one.

    Glen!

  9. Who is Brad Hodge?

  10. Never played for Geelong, Phanto, but don’t hold that against him.

    Was the victim of Uninformed Player Disembowelment after making a double-ton against the South Africans.

  11. Matt, good to catch up with you at the JTH book’nbeerz evening; but, I suppose uzevicx will be wanting White back in the test side next. Gitmedrift.

    Waddabout James BLOODY Faulkner in the one day side?

    (I suppose you, et al, will be starting a petition to get a Collywood player on the cover of the next Almanac.) Stop flogg’ndedorses.

  12. Steve Fahey says:

    Couldn’t agree more Jeff. Just because we don’t have six blokes claiming top order batting places doesn’t mean that Hodgey or Deano or Stuart Law or Keith Stackpole or anyone else who might have left Test cricket earlier than might have been should line up in front of the ball machine.

    Agree completely re the technique issue for all batsmen and would love to see the wagon wheel for all runs scored in the Big Bash, suspecting a much higher ratio of runs scored on leg side than in first class cricket. The other issue is fitness – haring around for a maximum bat of 20 overs batting and the same allocation in the field is not anything like the physical or mental demands of five successive days cricket.

    Not sure about D Hussey – lucky to be in the Vic side in the 4 day format on this season’s form. An excellent player of spin but would be slaughtered in the Ashes by the swinging ball. As Deano pointed out in The Age yesterday, what the hell is going on for the Vics, when at 2-140 odd in the first dig, Handscombe (who will be a very good player) comes in before both Hussey (who is an alleged candidate for a Test spot) and White ?

  13. Now that you mention it, Phanto, given we’ve had five Geelong players (and Ablett a 2nd time but in a GC jumper) all up in 6 editions on the cover, we ARE due for a magpie or two! How about a nice colourful cover featuring Dane and Dayne. I look forward to your signature on the petition.

  14. Great work Jeff. Hodge is nearly needed more by the Bushrangers at the moment. Love the Costanza clip.
    Phantom- Henriques continued selection in the ODI team ahead of Faulkner is embarrasing. Would love to see Faulkner given a run soon, especially as he is a Collingwood supporter, in an Australian team sorely lacking in Pies fans.

  15. Soothsayer Phantom hits the mark.

  16. Faulkner 2 /14 first up in case anyone is interested.

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