The former Indian and Rajasthan Royals (RR) captain Rahul Dravid recently revealed why the former Australian cricketer Brad Hodge was added in the Rajasthan franchise.
After serving for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the first three IPL editions, Rahul Dravid moved to the Rajasthan Royals in 2011.
Recently, Dravid claimed that the Rajasthan franchise earlier had not strong budget like the other strong IPL teams as they tried to pick up the players on the basis a lot of data and stats analysis.
Dravid said on the Insights vs Insights panel discussion, “After RCB, I moved on to RR and I got into more of a captain-coach-management role and we were looking through a lot of data and stats. At RR, we were literally a Moneyball team. We had to compete with the top teams with 40-60 percent of the budget. It’s not easy in an environment where everyone has a lot of data and knowledge.”
Brad Hodge had a phenomenal T20I record in Australia: Rahul Dravid
Ahead of the IPL 2012, when Dravid was chosen as the captain of the Rajasthan franchise, he and the team management were impressed with Brad Hodge’s T20 records in Australia. Though his record wasn’t good enough in India due to his weak batting against the left-arm spin or leg-spin, he was the strong batsman against the pacers.
Dravid claimed, “One of the things we noticed was Brad Hodge… had a phenomenal T20I record in Australia and had probably played 5-6 IPLs, and had a very average or poor record in India. Once we looked at the data closely, we sort of realised why he was struggling in India. He was clearly a player who was very good against fast bowling, but wasn’t very good against, say, left-arm spin bowling and leg spin. But he had an incredible strength of being good against fast bowling.”
Before Rajasthan Royals successfully bid for him for $475,000 in the 2012 IPL auction, Hodge already experienced the IPL for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR; 2008-2010) and now-defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala (KTK; 2011).
While the teams want to use their best death bowlers in the final overs of the T20 matches, Dravid and the RR team management felt that Hodge would be perfect for the side in the middle-order batting with the responsibility of death-overs batting.
Dravid added, “One of the things we looked at was, which is the position of the game where someone like Hodge will play only fast bowling, and we sort of looked at the last four-five overs where everyone brings their best death bowlers back into the game. We decided at that stage that we will buy him in the auction, and bat him in the last 5-6 overs in the match.”
Brad Hodge was obviously resistant to this when we told him initially: Rahul Dravid
While the top-order batsman Brad Hodge was earlier not convinced enough to play as a middle-order batsman, the Rajasthan franchise finally made him happy for that role after showing him his data.
Dravid continued, “Hodge, as you know, is an Australian batsman who is really proud of his batting ability, and he is used to batting in the top three in Australia. He was obviously resistant to this when we told him initially. But then we were able to show him data, and his success against fast bowling, and how critical it was for a team like us [that] didn’t have the firepower – like CSK had [MS] Dhoni, MI had Kieron Pollard or RCB had an AB de Villiers.”
The Rajasthan Royals finished in the seventh position in IPL 2012, where Hodge scored 245 runs with an average of 30.62 and strike-rate of 140.00.
While they qualified for the playoffs in the IPL 2013 and finished as the third-best team in that edition, first time finishing in the top four after winning the IPL 2008, Hodge scored 293 runs in that IPL edition (average 41.85; strike-rate 134.40). In that edition, Hodge scored one fifty in that edition, which was the match-winning 54 not out off just 29 balls against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
In his last IPL season as a player (2014), Hodge scored 101 runs in four matches (average 33.66; strike-rate 140.27) for the Rajasthan Royals.