Retirement at 46? No way, says Brad Hogg
"I am still trying to play First-Class cricket for Western Australia."
By Bharat Sharma
New Delhi, Oct 3 (PTI) Brad Hogg will be 47 come February but the Australian Chinaman bowler says the thought of announcing retirement from international cricket has not yet crossed his mind.
While he is "not done yet", Hogg remains realistic about his chances of making another comeback for Australia.
He is currently commentating in the limited-overs series between India and Australia and if it was not for a surgery on his left knee, he may well have been preparing back home to make another First-Class comeback for Western Australia.
"I am not worried about my age, mate. I am still trying to play First-Class cricket for Western Australia. I don't think I will ever announce my retirement from international cricket because it is a privilege to play for your country and if I am doing well enough I would never say no," Hogg tells PTI in a freewheeling chat.
The boom in T20 cricket has pushed a host of cricketers to stretch their careers. Hogg is a prime example of that alongside India's "ageless" Ashish Nehra, who, at 38, has earned a recall to the Indian team for the three T20s against Australia beginning October 7.
Hogg was 44 when he last played for Australia in 2014 and still thinks he is good enough to bowl at the highest level. He also remains a regular at the Big Bash League and even played the IPL as recently as last year.
"If I get the opportunity to play again (for Australia), I would take it. Because once you are long time retired (it is difficult to comeback). If it stops now, it stops now, I know I won't get to play again.
"I am fortunate that at my age I am still wanted. Whether it happens or not, it is another matter but yeah I am not done yet," he says.
Hogg says the constant curiosity over his age doesn't bother him and he is focused on getting back to full fitness, having undergone a knee surgery three months ago.
"While I am doing that (recovering), I am using the time to do commentary. I feel at a very fortunate place to be honest and thoroughly enjoying it. The recovery is taking longer than expected but I should be back on the ground soon"
Is it tough to maintain fitness as one grows older? "Not at all," says Hogg.
"If you look after yourself, it is not an issue. But as sportsmen, a lot of us have wear and tear. Sometimes it happens early in your career, sometimes it happens late. I am very lucky that it is late in my career.
"In fact I would not call it (injury layoff) a difficult period. I have been extremely lucky to play the game. I am grateful for that. You rather think about the things you have."
While commentating, he has also found time to help fellow Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, who calls the Australian his mentor with both having spent a lot of time together at the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL.
Yadav has been making rapid strides in international cricket ever since making his Test debut against Australia in March, and Hogg is not at all surprised.
"Everyone's career graph is different. We all go through different phases and he has got a great foundation. Now he has just to make sure he keeps his head on his shoulders, don't think too far ahead and keep working on his game.
"He has just got to make sure he is reliable when the captain calls him to bowl. The best cricketers in the world are consistent and reliable, they do the job," feels Hogg adding Yadav's accuracy remains one of his biggest strengths.
"You rather first work on your strengths than focus on your weaknesses. That is what I all good bowlers do," he adds.