Hodge in Australian squad

Brad Hodge has gained himself a spot in Australia’s 13-man squad for the upcoming 3 match Test series versus New Zealand.

A strong domestic summer in the Pura Cup for his state, Victoria, has ensured Hodge, 30, a place in the squad ahead of the injured Darren Lehmann. His season yielded 735 runs in total at an imposing average of 61.25.

The trip to New Zealand will be Hodge’s second international tour. He will be competing with Simon Katich for the number 6 batting spot, behind the 2004 Alan Border medallist, Micheal Clarke. Katich seems the likely option for the job after a successful India tour, which brought him 276 runs. He has also been performing well in current ODI series in New Zealand. The other yet to be decided position is that of the fourth bowler, which will be taken up by either Brett Lee or Micheal Kasprowicz.

Chairman of selectors, Trevor Hohns, commented on the reasoning behind the selection of Hodge, “Brad has presented an irresistible case to be part of this tour and if he gets the opportunity we feel confident that he can do a good job. During the India series, when he missed out on a spot in the Test XI, we said he was still in line for national selection. His domestic form has ensured that this is the case.”

The first Test will begin on the 10th of March in Wellington.

Full Australia squad:

Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer, Ricky Ponting (capt), Damien Martyn, Michael Clarke, Brad Hodge, Simon Katich, Adam Gilchrist (wk), Shane Warne, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie, Michael Kasprowicz, Glenn McGrath.

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