Every T20 team needs a batsman who has the class and the experience to finish games off when the going gets tough and in Brad Hodge the Rajasthan Royals have found exactly one of those. He can shift gears with ease according to the demands of the game. Prior to joining the Royals, Hodge played a season for the now defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala in 2011; however, he first came into prominence during his stint with the Kolkata Knight Riders between the years 2008-2010.
In the KKR team which was struggling on the fast wickets in South Africa, it was only Hodge who showed a certain degree of application. As a matter of fact, he scored a total of 365 runs in that single tournament. At this point of time, he is a particularly important member of the RR eleven and has often been the difference between victory and defeat.
It is often remarked by seasoned observers of Australian cricket that it is only because Brad Hodge emerged in the same era as Ricky Ponting that he could not play more than a handful of Test matches for the national team, which goes to show the sort of batting talent the man possesses. In the present Rajasthan Royals side, Hodge bats in the lower middle order and usually helps his team in getting quick runs in the last 4 overs of the innings. In addition to that, he has a remarkably cool head which enables him to assess the match situation perfectly before he goes in for the kill. When he is out there in the middle, the Royals are always in with a chance when they are chasing a target.
In 2008, Brad Hodge was picked up by the KKR for an undisclosed amount but in 2011 the Kochi Tuskers Kerala got him for $425,000 in an open auction. The next year Hodge was in the auction pool again and that time it was the Royals who $475,000 for his services. It cannot be denied that he has been an absolute bargain for the Royals considering the fact that the Yusuf Pathans of the world are paid $2.1 million a year.
As mentioned earlier Brad Hodge had his best outing in the IPL when the tournament took place in South Africa in 2009 and it was in this tournament that one of his best performances ended in a defeat for his team- the KKR. Chasing 149 for a win against the Mumbai Indians, Hodge scored 73 off 60 balls (4*5, 6*3) but the ineptness of the rest of the KKR batting line up cost them the match.
One look at his batting average over the past 6 seasons of the IPL will convince anyone that he is a batsman of rare quality. A cumulative average of 33.30 is a clear indication that Brad Hodge is a batsman who contributes handsomely to his team’s cause. The career strike rate of 124.18 is decent as well, for a batsman who usually plays the role of the anchor as well as the crisis man. However what needs to be noted is that his strike rate has in fact progressively increased over the past 2 seasons (140 in 2012 and 134.40 in 2013) and the only conceivable reason for that is that he now has the license to go for his strokes when he comes in to bat at number 5 or lower with a better batting line up of the Rajasthan Royals.
Did you know?
Brad Hodge once stayed the whole night at a hospital while his wife Megan was being treated for a heart complication and then went on to score 64 runs in a domestic game against South Australia. His wife had the surgery, which turned out to be successful while the cricketer was busy playing a crucial innings for his state, Victoria. The couple have been blessed with a son, who has been named Jesse.
By Soham Sammadar
Image Source: Rajasthan Royals Official Fan Club@Facebook