Brad Hogg is the first chinaman bowler from Australia © Getty Images
Brad Hogg is the first chinaman bowler from Australia © Getty Images

As the year 2016 is moving towards its end, many cricketers have started releasing their book, which carries plenty of interesting and unknown anecdotes. Former Australian spinner Brad Hogg is the latest joining in this league as he released his book titled The Wrong ’Un, in which he has shared numerous funny stories and pranks from the Australian dressing room. Hogg began his international career in 1996 but after his debut series, he was called back in the side after seven years in 2003. After that, he was again left out from the Test side for next four years but Hogg played one-dayers more often.

He retired in 2008 but came back from that and then finally retired in 2014. Hogg at 45 is still an active cricketer as he is the part of few Twenty20 leagues across the globe. Hogg is known for his funny nature, be it on the field or off the field. As reported by FoxSports, in his new book, Hogg revealed plenty of funny stories from his tenure with the Australian team and said that there was a brutal environment in the dressing room. “I discovered that the Australian dressing room could be a brutal environment, even for those who had been around long enough to feel like part of the furniture. There was always a heady mix of ego, hierarchy, insecurity, respect (or lack of it), bravado, sycophancy and fear in the room,” Hogg wrote in his book.

Well, Hogg revealed plenty of funny anecdotes in his book. Here are 11 such incidents:

1. Leave Matthew Hayden alone: As per Hogg, he struggled a lot to get along with Hayden and writes, “One player I struggled to get on with was Matthew Hayden. I admired Matthew but I don’t think he rated me as a cricketer. The first sign I had to be careful around Matthew was in 2003 when I was 12th man for a Test at the SCG. I decided to give our openers, [Justin] Langer and Hayden, some encouragement. I was going on to Justin about how we had to stick it to the Poms. Then I did the same with Hayden. He just looked at me before telling me to shut up and leave him alone.”

There was a huge reason behind Langer suggesting Hogg not to talk to Hayden and thanks to Adam Gilchrist, who helped him in knowing that secret yet hilarious justification. “Gilly reminded me to revisit the psychologist’s report, which provided insights into players’ personalities. I went to the locker room and looked at the report. ‘Don’t talk to Haydos before he bats’ I read,” Hogg revealed.

2. Hayden’s circle of trust: As Hogg writes in his book, Hayden and Damien Martyn were best mates in the team. While playing a game, Hayden indirectly hurt Hogg. “Hayden and Damien Martyn were tight. One time I was in the team room and I saw Hayden drawing a ‘circle of trust’ on a piece of butcher’s paper. He and Martyn were inside the circle. Then he put the other names in various positions depending on how much he trusted them. He put me right on the edge, which I found demoralising. It was also a time when I was struggling on the field so it hurt even more,” Hogg disclosed in his book.

3. Greg Matthews way of welcoming Hogg to brotherhood: When Australian spinner Greg Matthews (Also known as Mo) become Hogg’s mentor, he was welcomed in a pretty bizarre way but ended up liking that character. “In true Mo Matthews style, his advice didn’t come during a chance meeting at the nets but right in the middle of a Sheffield Shield match. The first ball I bowled to Mo was a half volley and he blocked it straight back to me. After playing his shot he yelled: ‘Welcome to the brotherhood, Hoggy!’”

“Then he pointed down the wicket at various parts of the pitch. ‘These are the areas you need to bowl in. If you land in these areas I’m going to show you respect, brother, but if you are out of them I’m going to teach you a lesson.’Later, with Matthews at the non-striker’s end – he told Hogg a teammate “can’t play spin. Just try make him hit past cover, bro.”

As per Hogg, many players were cautious of Matthews and they had good reason too for that but he always liked him. “I always liked him,” writes Hogg. “One time, after he had finished playing for NSW, he came into the dressing rooms during a Shield game, had a shower, and then sat there with a towel around him talking to the state boys. Like I said, he is a dude,” says Hogg.

4. Fit and bulky David Boon: Towards the end of 1995-96 season, when Hogg was playing against Tasmania, he came face to face with David Boon, who fascinated him for a long time. “I was fielding close to the bat and I was absolutely amazed to see Boon up close. I couldn’t believe he was this podgy bloke with a big moustache. Making it more amazing I had heard he was one of the fittest guys in the Australian team. I couldn’t stop looking at him and I was thinking, ‘How can this fat little thing be so fit?’ I was in awe of him and I kept staring at him as he prepared to face the next ball. ‘What are you staring at?’ he demanded. ‘Why do you keep looking at me?’ ‘Dunno’ was all I could say. I was genuinely dumbstruck. Between deliveries he turned to me again: ‘What did you say?’ I said, ‘I don’t know’. After he faced the next ball he turned and said once more ‘What did you say’. ‘I dunno,’ I responded, embarrassed. And he got out next ball,” unveils Hogg.

5. Shane Warne, the king: Prior to the World Cup 2003, when the Australian team was preparing, Hogg was very excited to play alongside the great Shane Warne and in his excitement, he indirectly ended up irritating the Australian leggie. “I didn’t really spend much time with Warnie, but I couldn’t contain my excitement when we played together at last, of a match ahead of the 2003 World Cup. I was fielding at point at the SCG when Punter [Ricky Ponting] asked him to start warming up. As I always did, I tried to rev everyone up, but this time I went right over the top. ‘You beauty!’ I shouted. ‘The king’s about to bowl, and I’ve got front row seats.’ Warne just turned and looked at me, muttering, ‘what’s this bloke on?’” Hogg added.

6. The famous Sachin Tendulkar story: Hogg may not be considered among the greats but he had a knack of getting opposition team’s best batsman and it started from 2003 Caribbean tour. “I always found [Brian] Lara the toughest international batsman to bowl to, while I had the feeling if I stuck to my guns I would get Sachin Tendulkar. I remember one time Lara was standing there smiling at me and I grunted ‘I know I’m not Shane Warne mate, but you’re in for a battle.’ I got Tendulkar out once, and I have a signed photo to prove it. On it he wrote: “This will never happen again’ And it didn’t,” Hogg wrote in his book.

7. How Hoggy irked Stuart MacGill: Hogg was always over excited while representing the Australian side and always pumped with cheering other bowlers. While doing so, he once irritated MacGill. “In my excitement at representing my country I often attempted to psyche up my teammates. Some liked it but with others it grated. One time Stuart MacGill was bowling. I was fielding at midwicket and going through my usual banter: ‘Well bowled Stu. Well bowled. Good over mate. Keep it going.’He quickly had enough of my enthusiasm – ‘don’t talk to me again,’ he yelled over at me. He then got hit for four and Gilchrist tried to shush me but I kept babbling away. The captain put me in the deep where I couldn’t piss MacGill off,” Hogg mentioned in his book.

8. Caring Clarke: Besides all those funny stories, Hogg also talked about former Australian captain Michael Clarke, whom he found very caring towards him on his first retirement in 2008. “All the boys knew I didn’t want to retire; they knew why I was leaving. Michael Clarke went out of his way to present me with a beautiful silver pen that had my Test number engraved on it. I liked Michael – he never judged me and showed genuine care for me.”

9. Merv Hughes‘ big kiss to Hoggy: Hughes was probably the biggest sledger Australia ever had but he also has an excellent sense of humour. Going by Hogg, Hughes is the most unpredictable sledger he encountered and gives the explanation behind saying this as well.

“A massive send off, calling me everything under the sun and suggesting I should piss off back to grade cricket. Even when I was in the tunnel heading to the dressing rooms he was giving it to me with both barrels,” this happened after Hughes set Hogg and got his wicket in a state match.

Although, Hughes retired soon and his next encounter was in a dining room during a West Indies and Australia A match, where Hogg was quite worried.  “I was worried he’d give me another serve. Instead he screamed ‘legend! How are you?’ and gave me a big kiss on the cheek. I didn’t see him for a while after that until one day I was in the Australian dressing room having a massage. He saw me, got the strapping tape, and whacked it on one of my armpits. Then he disappeared laughing his head off. He came in later and got my other arm and did the same thing. The masseuse had to spend the next hour and half cutting the tape off. That’s a different approach from an Australian selector if you ever saw one,” wrote by Hogg.

10. Michael Bevan sleeping with open eyes: During his debut tour with Australian team in Sri Lanka in 1996. He came in as a replacement for Warne. Hogg come across something very weird about Bevan. “I was pooping myself. I kept wondering if I would have to give my gear back if I went on tour but didn’t get a game. One time I woke up and saw him [Bevan] staring straight at me. I was shitting myself because he looked like he wanted to kill me.” Later, Hogg came to know that Bevan was sleeping with his eyes open.

11. Steve Waugh‘s epic advice to Hogg: This has to be the best story of all from Hogg’s book. It happened in the same debut tour after team physio Erroll Alcott handed pills to everyone in the squad ahead of the first game. “I was sitting next to Steve, who told me ‘mate, these pills are very important. You’ve got to take them. I’m going to go in and deal with it now’. ”

Hogg shockingly replied, “What do you mean?”

Steve confirmed it again and added, “You’ve got to put them up your anus, mate.”

Well, had there been someone else apart from Hogg, that person would have denied to do so that but he did what his senior player said. “So I went to the toilet and shoved them up my clacker. Steve had advised me I had to put them in really deep so they didn’t come back out. So that’s what I did, getting the love finger right up there. What I didn’t know is they were simple vitamin C tablets and of course they were meant to be taken the usual way. I felt uncomfortable for a few days, but I never got a cold,” Hogg added.

(Abhishek Kumar is a cricket devotee currently staffing with CricLife and CricketCountry.com. He can be followed at @abhik2593)