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Brad Hogg - Reflections of 2011/12 Comeback
It was an absolute privilege to participate in the game of cricket which provided so much joy and comfort to my life.

Since my retirement, the four years out of first class and international cricket felt like I was in solitary confinement experiencing ground-hog day. Waking up each morning with the creeping realisation that my days as a sportsman were over, and although it got easier over the years, it was always absent and I felt the hole in my being like a missing limb.

I am a man that loves a challenge and I regretted every moment of my early retirement. I know, you have to live with your choices and I accept that, so the offer to encounter first class cricket again is all the sweeter for all the melancholy.

Fitness and bowling were not an issue for me, only my batting. Batting you ask? Well I felt that if I could not contribute in all three facets of the game, I will be letting myself and the team down. Batting was the one thing throughout my career that I felt I under achieved, though I am still figuring out whether my over-ambition for excellence gets in the way of any actual talent.

As it was, I was hitting the ball well, but I forgot that batting had the component of communicating with ones partner in order to run between wickets.  I was run out in all three innings that I batted. Note to self when commentating again …  “don’t make blunt judgement on other cricketers when your own game had more flaws in it than the American banking system over the past decade” .

Perth Scorchers Inaugural Year 2011

It was a wonderful campaign from the team, especially since we had been written off by the media as ‘The Pensioners’ prior to the start of the tournament.   I was quietly confident at the start of the tournament that we would have some success due to the mixture of experience and youth within the squad though.

Brad - Perth ScorchersKatich, Collingwood and Gibbs were exceptional on the field, but off the field is where they earned 90% of their remuneration with their work ethic and attention to detail in preparation for matches, emulating to the younger players the attributes required for a successful team.

Team Manager and Fitness Coordinator Steven Smith (who was the pensioner of the team) was inspirational by creating expectations of players on and off the field, while maintaining their compulsory accomplishment through the whole campaign with authorised discipline. If there were any issues that could fragment the team dynamic, Steve would pounce on it like an eagle scavenging a carcass, stating that we must adapt and move forward.  The team experience of the Scorchers was bonafide authentic.  Each individual was singularly important to the creating the whole.  It was an experience that unfortunately isn’t easily replicated, but always worth striving for.

The younger members of the team, Marsh, Coulter-Nile and Beer showed exceptional displays of talent and all three should have promising careers representing their country. Because their generation find verbal dialogue difficult; Twitter was adopted by the older players to create relationships and many golden moments happened in the ether, sitting side by side on buses, or across the hallway in hotel rooms as a result.  All three young guns showed great leadership qualities and with the seasoned Marcus North at the helm, I hope they can share their experiences and influence the players within the Warriors squad.

The crowds at the WACA (The Furnace) provided an atmosphere that made the team feel like the Roman Empire in full flight, creating a feeling of invincibility in the players. It was exhilarating. Although we did not come home with the Holy Grail, I would like to thank the fans for providing the players with emotions that will never be forgotten and will be hard to replicate.

On a personal note, the reception given to me was outstanding. I am proud to be Western Australian and honoured to be able to play the game of cricket for my state and country. Thank you for the abundance of support, it will live in my memories till I end up six feet below.

Australia

Representing your country is the epitome of any blessed career. At the age of 41 and having been away from the international game just short of four years, my selection sent me into a state of internal hyperactivity to match my physical capacity. I am not sure whether it is an adrenalin rush that is keeping the wheels in motion, or if my fitness is simply at a required level to perform at the highest level, but I know I am not taking anything for granted.

Every chance I get to represent my country in the next six months will be taken with extreme gratification. Hence it is the first time in my career that I have taken instruction from the medical, physio and various learned other staff with absolute testament.

It was an honour to play in the Australian T 20.

The most impressive part of the week with the Australian T20 squad was the attitude of the younger players with their professionalism and attention to detail in all aspects of being a cricketer. I can honestly say the game has gone forward in the last four years in a positive light.

Walking into the first team meeting I had a sense of hesitation, slight unease on how the younger players felt about my fortuitous return to international cricket?  It had a sense of the first time I ever played for Australia, though back then I was young and gullible and it was widely known that I was selected to tour for Australia on the strength of one solid performance.  A couple of smiles and handshakes put those fears to rest.

Stepping out onto the big stage in the Australian colours at the Sydney Olympic Stadium and MCG with crowds of more than 65,000 with my youthful team mates, brought back so many memories.  You have nowhere to hide if things go wrong, but a good performance will have the crowd starved for more.  That pressure, and those emotions of striving for success is a legal amphetamine coursing through my body, keeping me focused and dangerously ready.

Having the ball in my hand at the top of the mark, I try to drown the crowd out, concentrating on the exact delivery to execute. The sensation of the leather in hand, taking a deep breath at the top of the mark to relieve anxiety, and the sheer pressure to perform, are the moments I love.  It’s the knifes edge, there’s no time to think of what has happened or what is going to happen, there is only that moment.

As a bowler playing 20/20 cricket, I am concerned more about the starvation of runs than taking wickets.   My belief is that the wickets will come if batsmen are not rotating the strike, and this is where my high expectations and reliability in my team mates come into play with their fielding. This is why the Perth Scorchers, and Australia have had so much success, because the team is more important than the individual.

Bangalesh Premier League 2012
Photo
I am in Bangladesh playing their inaugural T20 competition while I write this blog, which is providing some interest with all teams staying in the same hotel.  My team, The Sylhet Royals, have lost five of five games to date and it is a most unpleasant feeling walking past opposition teams feeling you are the buffoonery of the competition. I will continue to share more stories about my time in Bangladesh on this new website, but before I sign off, I will share one with you now.  

After two game losses, and before the start of our third game the skipper Peter Trego, spoke to the team in an attempt to inspire by saying “Boys do you want to do the pumping or continued to be pumped?”.  At the end of game four we were beaten convincingly again. Peter was frustrated.  We all were. But before he got up to express his animosity to the group, I handed him a tube of KY Jelly, gave him a cheeky smile, and offered “just limiting the pain of being pumped mate”.


END.

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(c) Copyright - March 2013 - Article written by Brad Hogg. Written permission to copy, quote, or use this article in part or whole must be sought and granted in writing from for GURUS Entertainment & Management P/L. The opinions of this blog are not those of GURUS Entertainment & Management Pty Ltd.

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