There is something heart-warming and exciting about watching your favourite sport live from the stadium. The way your role models give it their all on the strip of 22 yards and the turf surrounding it sends a surging rush through you, and you feel connected with them, and the rest of the audience too.

For a young Brad Hodge, this feeling was no different.

“My first memory was actually watching cricket at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and watching players like Allan Border and Dennis Lillee,” he said nostalgically, while he was giving an account of his earliest cricket memory to

Hodge, a celebrated and decorated cricketer from Australia, has often pleased crowds with his all-round performances on the pitch and by meeting with some fans too off it. It’s astounding how things change sometimes, because once upon a time, he was in the exact same position – a wide-eyed fan overjoyed to meet his idols for a few fleeting moments.

“I used to go and watch One Day cricket especially, so those were good fond memories of summer days in Australia. I think the first ODI I had gone for was Australia vs England, and I got to meet Rod Marsh, Dennis Lillee, Mick Malone and Allan Border,” he recounted.

“That was the highlight of the day for me where I got some signatures off them, and I was pretty happy about it.”

Now after a career spanning well over a decade, and some coaching experience under his belt, Hodge joins the Kings XI Punjab family as the head coach, hoping to inspire the next generation of cricketers, the same way he was once inspired as a young disciple of the beautiful game we call cricket.