It's been more than five years since Brad Hodge played for Australia. But at 38, his hunger and passion for the game haven't diminished. With opportunities to represent the national side few and far between, Hodge turned to playing in leagues across India, Bangladesh, England and New Zealand. Among the various teams he's played for, his role at Rajasthan Royals has been well defined and has brought him a lot of success.
Hodge, who has the ability to mould his game to every situation, attributed his hitting ability to the baseball training he underwent during his formative years. "I used to play baseball as a young kid and Twenty20 is a bit similar to baseball where you whack and try and get a couple of home runs, and enjoy yourself because that's what it's all about," Hodge told CLT20.com.
"You get to smack the ball; that is the best thing. T20 tests your ability to hit the ball along with your skill. You have to hit the ball 80-90 metres to hit a six and I think it is really good fun. But for me, Test cricket is true cricket where you test your skill as a batsman."
Hodge has time and again brushed off suggestions that he is better suited to the longer format. Over the years, he's been a crucial member of the Rajasthan set-up and has worked hard to keep himself fit like any other contemporary cricketer.
"For me, cricket in general is about applying your skill and your talent. It doesn't matter what age you are, it's all about being capable." he said. "And if you still got the skills, then it is pretty important. The one thing I have got is knowledge, and I could put that knowledge together with skill, and that is a powerful tool.
"Experience is important for all cricketers, especially here where it is high-level competition," Hodge said. "This competition involves a lot of experience and skill and that's exactly why I bat lower down the order; that's what Rahul Dravid wants. I am doing exactly what he is asking."
Hodge showcased his prowess yet again on Wednesday (September 25) as he smashed a 23-ball 46 to help Rajasthan post a formidable total that set the tone for their victory over Highveld Lions in the Champions League T20 2013 in Jaipur, displaying admirable hitting power. His experience in the Rajasthan dressing room has been invaluable for the largely young side.
"Not everyone clicks in every match. At Rajasthan, we try and make sure that if it's your day, you get the job done as professionally as you possibly can," he explained. "In Twenty20, there are only two or three guys who are going to have a really good day. So you got to make sure that person really nails it. That's what we sort of bind our team on."
With two wins in as many matches, Rajasthan are well placed to qualify for the semifinals of the CLT20. Playing all their league matches at home is another added advantage, but Hodge was wary of the unpredictable nature of the format and emphasised the importance of being on one's toes all the time.
"We play well at home, we play very well here. It's a beautiful stadium; the outfield is good, wicket is good and we know the conditions," he said. "For us, the only thing is not knowing the other teams. So we have to just adapt a little bit and try and work on what we are trying to do well, and execute as best as we can."