Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Cricket: Will the Aussies Be on Top Again?

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Cricket: Will the Aussies Be on Top Again?

Article excerpt

AUSTRALIA have lifted the last two 50-over World Cups and are now looking for the first ever ICC World Twenty20 trophy to add to their bulging cabinet.

One of the main men who looks increasingly able to make this happen for his country is Brad Hodge.

The middle-order batsman has played 33 Twenty20 matches - mainly in English domestic cricket - and has made the shortened format his very own art form.

The 32-year-old has been in and out of Australia's Test and one-day sides, but may now find himself as the most crucial member of the team as they aim to do the double.

He said: "The Twenty20 World Cup is going to be an interesting time, and who knows what will happen in that?

"It is an unknown stage, but hopefully the green and gold comes away with another trophy."

Hodge announced his arrival on to the Test match scene with an innings of 203 against South Africa in Perth in only his third Test, but few other scores of note meant he was jettisoned in favour of the younger Michael Clarke at the end of the series.

His one-day international career has obvious talent, with two unbeaten innings in the 90s and just one hundred in 18 matches, combing with five single-figure scores and just one other over 50.

But in Twenty20 matches he has scored 1,383 runs off just 968 balls with a highest score of 106. His average currently stands at 46.10 and he is the leading runscorer in the history of the Twenty20 Cup, despite playing 10 matches fewer than his nearest rival and ex-teammate Darren Maddy.

The ICC World Twenty20 may give him a much-needed chance to resurrect his international career. Good showings on the world stage may well help him to force his way back into the reckoning for Australia after his personal ICC World Cup 2007 campaign saw him bat only twice in five matches.

His last innings for Australia garnered 123 runs - against New Zealand in Basseterre and he will want to prove that he has finally cracked international cricket when he takes to the crease in South Africa. …

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