Brad Hogg: The Ageless Warrior!
Even the greatest of players have their set of critics and haters but it is impossible to find a Brad Hogg hater, at least on this planet. Doesn’t matter what he did in his career he was loved in all the roles. Don’t go by his ever smiling face; he is the most dangerous left arm wrist spinner to have played the game. In another case of a talented player born at a wrong time, he was overshadowed by the success of Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill for the most part of his career.
Many of you would be surprised to know that he just played 7 test matches for Australia. In such a short international career he left a long lasting impact on cricketing fans.
It was the limited overs format that gave him fame. He made his international debut in 1996 and was soon sent into exile for almost 7 years. It was in 2003 when his career was revitalised. Shane Warne was asked to return home just one day before the start of the World Cup after been tested positive in a drug test. Suddenly, the entire spotlight was on Brad Hogg and he responded like a true champion picking up 13 wickets in Australia’s journey to glory. His case was supported by a year’s ban on Shane Warne. Hogg grabbed the opportunity with both hands and cemented his place in Australia’s limited overs side.
About the Art!
There is no chinaman spinner who had more exploits in international cricket than George Bradley ‘Brad’ Hogg. For a major part of his career, he was a sole carrier of this art at this level. If it wasn’t for him people would have forgotten chinaman bowling long back. He also had an amazing wrong’un (the delivery that spins the other way) which he used to great effect in international cricket.
He created many moments of magic in his career and on one occasion it was Zimbabwe’s legendary captain Andy Flower who was on the receiving end. Flower, who was considered a great player of spin bowling, was completely deceived by a zooming flipper in the 2003 World Cup, a ball that was described as one of the ‘balls of the tournament’ by Hogg’s teammate Adam Gilchrist. He produced another iconic moment when he foxed Andrew Flintoff on two wrong’uns while taking his wicket with 2nd one during the 2007 World Cup.
The Ageless Fighter!
At 45, Hogg is still playing in various competitive leagues all over the world including the Indian Premier League and Big Bash. He represented Kolkata Knight Riders in the latest edition of IPL and registered the figures of 3/19 in the first game itself. One of his victims in that game, Sanju Samson wasn’t even born when Hogg started his first class career. He was able to keep one of the best spinners of this format Sunil Narine, out of the side for a few games with his amazing performances. Even now he plays with a child-like energy which is incredible to watch.
He was called out of retirement to represent his national side in ICC T20 World Cup at an age of 40. The old man wishes to play till he is 50. We can’t help but respect his passion for the sport.
The Number Game!
Brad Hogg finished as the second most successful spinner for Australia in ODIs just behind Shane Warne with 156 wickets to his name in 123 matches at an impressive average of 26.84 and an economy rate of 4.51. He picked up 21 wickets in the 2007 ICC World Cup at an average of 15.80 causing as much destruction as Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan. He is part of the elite group of international players who have won more than 2 World Cups. He was also more than a handy batsman and rescued his team from difficult situations more than once.
He is a player who was neglected for the most part of his career. His side played 78 games between his 1st and 2nd Test match. After his retirement in 2008, he didn’t pick up a bat or ball for 3 years. He is a man who saw difficult times and braved them like a champion. He spent hours in nets practising his flippers and chinamen deliveries. He is a man who conquered all the adversities of life and yet all we remember him for is his tongue-out action.
Even at the age of 45, he is showing what it takes to be successful and survive at the highest level. CrickGeek salutes the master of Art! Take a bow Brad Hogg.