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Timing Is Everything

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After 17 seasons, Brad Hodge has announced his retirement from first-class cricket. He will still continue to play one-day and Twenty20 cricket. He just won’t play in the Sheffield Shield.

The logic behind this is that one only plays first-class cricket as a stepping stone to being selected for the national side and if Hodge is no chance of that then what use is he playing for Victoria? Yes he is playing good cricket but his spot could be given to a young cricketer.

Hodge has always been a prolific scorer, he just couldn’t establish himself in the side. He played six test matches where he scored 503 runs at 56. He played 25 one day and 8 Twenty20 matches for Australia.

For most of his career the Australian middle order consisted of the two Waughs and Ricky Ponting. When the Waughs went that still left Damien Martyn, Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds as competition. He did well but it wasn’t considered well enough. Simon Katich established himself and later Shane Watson did. The fact is that cricket betting isn’t as confident as it was when the two Waughs were around.

So like Stuart Law, Jamie Siddons, Jamie Cox and Darren Lehmann, Hodge becomes another one of those Australian players who had monster first-class careers at the expense of a solid Test career. The thing is that if they were from any other country they would have been one of the first players selected but Australia has such a riches that great players can’t make the team.

But one shouldn’t feel any weepy for these players. Significantly more players don’t play first-class cricket than do. To be able to do so and for so long is a fantastic achievement and shouldn’t be looked at lightly just because it isn’t the pinnacle.

Isn’t it better to have had such a satisfying career for one’s state than a so-so international career?

This highlights the vagaries of selection. You need to be in the right place at the right time and then grasp your opportunity when it comes along. This is what Sachin Tendulkar did and 20 years later he still has a firm grasp on his spot.

There are only 11 players in a cricket side which is why places are so precious. To be considered in the best 11 cricketers for your country, state or province is a massive accomplishment. It could be easy for Brad Hodge to look at the glass half-empty, but he should be looking at it three-quarters full.

David Wiseman writes for this blog. He also wrotes about tennis betting.


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