Competition for the opening berth alongside Matthew Hayden has become even more fierce after Brad Hodge nominated himself for the position in an effort to reignite his Test career. Hodge, a first-class No. 3 who batted in the middle order in his five Tests, has been contemplating the change as Australia search for a replacement for Justin Langer.
Shane Watson, the Queensland allrounder, is prepared to switch from the middle order while the specialist openers Phil Jaques and Chris Rogers are the leading contenders for the spot. “I’ve been thinking about it for the last four or five months,” Hodge told The Age. “It was something that was mentioned to me and I am definitely going to put my hand up.
“I know Justin Langer moved from No. 3 to opening and David Boon also made the switch and [the chairman of selectors] Andrew Hilditch himself. There has been a bit of talk about who will do it, but if the chance came up, I reckon I would be able to do a good job.”
Hodge got his first Test opportunity against West Indies in 2005-06 and scored a double-century against South Africa in the same summer. He was dropped with an average of 58.42 and questions over his technique outside off stump to the fast bowlers, which would be tested even more if he moved to the top of the order.
After the World Cup, where Hodge scored his first ODI century, he headed to England for the county season and he has been strong in the one-day competitions and solid in the County Championship. The first Test against Sri Lanka is at the Gabba on November 8 and Hodge is hoping he will be there.
“I guess I’m one of a couple who see it as a chance, a chance for a rebirth and a new challenge,” he said. “No one knows what is going to happen from here to November but there is a spot. Whether it’s opening or in the middle order, I am playing really good cricket and I believe I can be successful at Test cricket.”
Hayden is looking forward to leaving a legacy for the next generation and he has already provided a lesson in playing at your peak while in pain. He made a tournament-high 659 runs in the Caribbean with a fractured big toe and another broken bone in his other foot.
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:Australia, Chris Rogers, Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, odi, Phil Jaques, Shane Watson, Sri Lanka
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