Australia XI have reached 6-233 to give themselves a 353-run lead and move to the cusp of victory going into the final day of their match with the England Lions.
Yesterday’s announcement of Australia’s 14-man squad for its opening one-day international against England raised further doubt and confusion in Cricket Australia’s constant neglect and disregard for in-form Victorian batsman Brad Hodge.
Hodge, who has no doubt had his most successful year in shortened cricket, scoring 494 runs at a staggering average of 82, will be forced to once again watch from the sidelines, in what has become a perplexing selection trend in Australian cricket.
Even in Twenty20 cricket, where he recently sold for $425,000 in the IPL, ahead of many Australian international representatives, he cannot get a look in.
Selector Andrew Hilditch has stated many times before, that the best and most effective way of gaining international selection is to score runs at domestic level.
This appears to be a contradictory statement, with Hodges glistening career of over 17,000 domestic runs, only netting him a handful of Test and ODI caps.
Critics of Brad Hodge point to his age, 36, as being a major sticking point behind his non-selection over the past three years, suggesting that Cricket Australia are focusing on the future of limited overs cricket.
This argument died down with the naming of Brett Lee (age 34), David Hussey (recalled after averaging 24 this season and aged 33), and an average squad age well into the thirties, for both the upcoming one-day series and the World Cup.
Rumours have long been floating around that the biggest dent to Hodge’s international career is his personality, which has allegedly clashed with several high profile members of the Australian squad.
It has been made clear that the Australian cricket team is a gentleman’s club, and everyone must be liked, which is probably why a fan survey showed 14 per cent of cricket fans supported Michael Clarke as captain of the Test team.
One of the key annoyances in this debacle is that Cricket Australia have shown no clear intention of playing Hodge in any form of cricket, yet included him in the 30-man World Cup squad, in what appeared to be a desperate attempt to hide the neglect given to Hodge over the past three years.
They have no intention of naming him in the shortened squad, and in doing so have wasted a World Cup squad opportunity for a young cricketer.
Perhaps the most bizarre element of this whole mystery is that Cricket Australia and the selectors have never publicly raised why Hodge is never in the eyes of selectors.
If there is an issue with his personality, or his age, it would make Cricket Australia look less incompetent and foolish if they actually were open and honest about this issue.
After assisting heavily in the Ashes defeat, and the demise of Australian cricket, the least the selectors could do is be honest and open with the cricketing public about so called ‘selection policy’.
It’s the least we deserve after putting up with this summer of cricket.