Brad Hodge knows a thing or two about domestic leagues. He exploded onto the Australian cricket scene early in his career and went on to become one of the most prolific scorers in the domestic league there. His ability to balance caution and aggression according to the situation meant bowlers found it virtually impossible to get rid of him once he got his eye in. This season he will be seen coaching Kings XI Punjab in the premier T20 competition in the world and the pressure, no doubt, will be on.
“I really want to make this work at KXIP, and want the franchise to be successful,” Hodge told kxip.in. “My ambition is to be a part of that success. So, I have the drive and ambition to be here.”
Having cut his teeth with Gujarat Lions in the past two seasons, Hodge now has a good grip over what it takes to coach a team on such a big stage. The fast pace of the game and constant activity on and off the field makes it difficult to stay on track many times. Hodge shed some light on the number of changes the art of coaching has gone through over the years and distinguished between the two forms of coaching that exist today.
“When you talk about coaching, there are two types of coaches – the motivational coaches who lend themselves more to T20 cricket, and career coaches that are more geared towards Test cricket, where you gauge people over a long period of time and look at the bigger picture for two or three years with the player. T20 is more about impact in the current environment you are in,” explained the Aussie.
Hodge has extensive experience in T20s, having played in in a number of domestic leagues around the world and, till recently, even being a part of Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League. However, the sheer amount of raw talent in VIVO Indian Premier League puts it head and shoulders above the rest and makes things that much more difficult.
“I think the quality of players sets the IPL apart. The Indian domestic and international players are of the highest quality. When you mix that with four foreign players from across the world, I don’t think any other league even comes close to that talent pool,” Hodge admits.
As the new coach of KXIP, Hodge’s role began right from helping pick the squad from this extensive list of quality players. Even though he wasn’t present at the auctions, he made sure he communicated with Viru-paaji and the rest of the management throughout and was extremely pleased with the team he has.
“It was good to work with Virender Sehwag in order to work out strategies, and make sure we execute them well throughout the auction,” said Hodgey, “The messages that have been going out on social media indicate that the fans seem to be happy with the list of players we have chosen.
“We worked hard in the auctions to try and get the best possible team that we could. I think we have put together a group of really exciting cricketers, so I think they should be looking forward to a team that would play a flamboyant style of cricket, which will certainly be exciting for the fans.”
As the opening day draws nearer, Kings XI Punjab are all set to take on the challenge of a new VIVO Indian Premier League season and now they have the perfect person to guide them through it. They have a strong team filled with match winners and all they need is an able task master who can get the best out of them. Ab Hodge aayega toh woh bhi ho-jayega.