Recalled Australian spinner Brad Hogg says he’s shooting for another two or three years at the top of Twenty20 cricket.
Turning 41 next week, the veteran West Australian had been three and a half years retired from international action but, after a big summer for runners-up the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League, Hogg says he’s here for the long haul.
“I’m not here for anything other than helping Australia prepare for a T20 World Cup,” Hogg said on Sunday ahead of Wednesday’s opening T20 international against India in Sydney.
“I’ve been out of it for three and a half years and to get selected after what’s happened with the Perth Scorchers has been fantastic. I’ve got a lot of pride in myself and I want to make sure I do what I did three and a half years ago - and that was work hard and do my best out on the field.
“Hopefully, I can get two or three more years out of it ... life’s all about opportunities and this opportunity won’t come again.”
Hogg says he’s made his intentions clear with national selectors that the two-match series against India is only the start of his plan to be part of Australia’s World Cup bid in Sri Lanka later this year.
Tasmanian Xavier Doherty is the other frontline spinner in the 14-man Australian squad for Sydney and Melbourne on Friday but, given the recent success of slow bowling in T20, it appears likely both will play.
Hogg revealed he won’t be sent to the West Indies for two internationals at the end of March, but hopes to make up for that by playing in the IPL and a new league in Bangladesh as preparation for the world tournament beginning in September.
“I’m not worried about (selection on Wednesday). I’ve spoken to the selectors - they’ve got a plan for it,” he said.
“I’ve told them my interest is to play a couple of tournaments around the world and to make sure my form is up to it leading into selection for the T20 World Cup.
“I’ve been told I probably won’t be going to the West Indies because it’s probably a waste of resources and I’m getting enough cricket around other competitions.”
Australia are expected to roll out their big names for Wednesday’s clash at Sydney Olympic Park, with India reeling from their 4-0 Test whitewash.
Under-pressure Test No.3 Shaun Marsh is a proven T20 player and is expected to be given a chance to find some batting form at the top of the order.
His younger brother Mitch is a star all-rounder of the future and his explosive hitting in the middle-order is likely to see his inclusion.
Wicketkeeper Matt Wade will get another chance at international level to press his claims for squad selection in all forms for the West Indies tour, while George Bailey and David Warner will make their first outings as captain and vice-captain of Australia.
Veterans Brett Lee and David Hussey will play, with Travis Birt, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch and Clint McKay all hoping to force their way into the XI.
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