Brad Hodge: 'Quality of local talent in India better than any other country'

The IPL has seen Hodge grow as a coach. After a stint with Gujarat Lions last year, he has moved to Kings XI Punjab, which he has moulded into a formidable unit.

"We knew he was a potential orange-cap holder and that is why we paid so much for him," Brad Hodge said about Punjab opener K.L. Rahul.   -  PTI

Brad Hodge played only six Tests for Australia, but in one of those games against South Africa, he scored a double hundred and finished his career with an average of 55.58.

Like fellow Sheffield Shield run-machines Stuart Law and Adam Voges, he did not get to wear the baggy green as many times as he probably deserved. He, however, got more opportunities in the shorter formats and was a popular player in Twenty20 leagues across the globe. He made his mark at the IPL too, playing for teams like Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals.

The IPL has also seen Hodge grow as a coach. After a stint with Gujarat Lions last year, he has moved to Kings XI Punjab, which he has moulded into a formidable unit.

Excerpts from an exclusive interview he gave to Sportstar:

Q: Looking at players like K.L. Rahul, Chris Gayle and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, one could say that KXIP has spent its money wisely at the auction.

A: Well, those decisions may have looked debatable at the time. But I believe money shouldn’t be the criterion when it comes to getting the right players you wanted.

Q: Those players have helped KXIP evolve into a strong team and raised hopes of possibly the best season for the side since 2014.

A: This team has the potential to go all the way and win the title. We have already scored some good wins in the tournament.

Q: Ashwin has proved to be an excellent captain.

A: Yes, but that hasn’t surprised me. He has always been a good student of the game.

Q: Mujeeb has been a revelation.

A: Indeed. Ashwin has guided him very well.

Q: Your thoughts on Rahul?

A: What a talent! We knew he was a potential orange-cap holder and that is why we paid so much for him. He has been brilliant from the first match, in which he played those amazing shots against Jasprit Bumrah over cover.

Q: You must be pleased with the way Ankit Rajpoot has bowled.

A: Yes, and I am happy that he has just been picked by the Indian selectors for the A squad.

Q: Which IPL team did you enjoy most playing for?

A: Rajasthan Royals. I got to learn a lot from working with Rahul Dravid.

Q: What, according to you, makes IPL special?

A: The quality of local talent, which is amazingly different from any other country, the right number of foreigners in a side, the fact that the teams are owned by major film stars and industrial bigwigs and of course the Indian crowds have all made IPL the best in the world.