Brad Hodge (L), Stuart MacGill (C), Subramaniam Badrinath (R) © Getty Images
Brad Hodge (L), Stuart MacGill (C), Subramaniam Badrinath (R) © Getty Images

 

By Vinay Anand

 

The culmination of talent, perseverance, hard work and skill, get you what you want in life – Eric Brandley

 

Brad Hodge, Stuart MacGill and Subramaniam Badrinath are three people who would probably disagree with Brandley. A closer look at the careers of the three cricketers will reveal why:

 

Brad Hodge

 

Brad Hodge can be considered as one of the best batsmen Australia never had. Hodge found it difficult to break into a champion side that had the likes of Ricky Ponting, the Waugh brothers, Damien Martyn, Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer, Michael Bevan, Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey, to name a few. One would have thought Hodge’s best chance was in the 2003- 04 season when India toured Down Under, but Michael Hussey pipped him to the post.

 

Hodge has an outstanding record, scoring over 17,000 runs in first-class cricket in 223 matches for Victoria. He has proven his credentials time and again and was even picked in 2005. But he was dropped despite a double century in a Test match against South Africa. He then had an alleged tiff with skipper Ricky Ponting, which effectively ended his hopes of playing international cricket since late 2007.

 

A glimmer of hope remained when he played the T20 World Cup in South Africa and was also part of the winning Australian World Cup squad in 2007, but, despite being picked in many of the probable team sheets, Hodge never quite got his due.

 

Hodge is currently representing the Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the IPL and at 36, is yet, proving his worth adding to his tally of T20 runs in domestic cricket.

 

Stuart MacGill

 

If Hodge is Australia’s unluckiest batsman, then Stuart MacGill is the unluckiest bowler in Australian cricket. For a man who turned the ball more than Shane Warne, had a better strike rate than him, this sure was misfortune.

 

MacGill did not have the best of control with the ball, but he had all the tricks in the bag and an incredible strike rate to go with it. Breaking into a team as a leg-spinner which had Shane Warne in it was next to impossible. And despite all this, MacGill actually partnered Warne in one series in 1999 and kept him out of selection for a solitary match before the champion came back strongly.

 

It was only due to Warne’s controversial personal life and a few injuries that MacGill got to play 44 Tests in which he took 223 wickets. But once his confidence was dented, he lost his fitness too to make any possible inroads into the national side after Warne’s retirement in early 2007.

 

Subramaniam Badrinath

 

For years now, Badrinath has been knocking at the door of the national selectors. His record on the domestic scene is outstanding, averaging over 62 in 97 first-class games. But then again, breaking into a line-up with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman was never going to be easy.

Badrinath has almost been forgotten by the selectors despite his run scoring as they opted for young blood Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli. Yuvraj, too, was given his fair share of opportunities, but Badri seldom got any. Badri is now 30, and in spite of exceptional performances with the Chennai Super Kings, right under the national selector and captain’s radar, the scope seems bleak.

 

And these three are not the only ones. Robert Key from England, a top order batsman, failed to get a regular place on the England side despite scoring over 15000 runs in domestic cricket. Key only played 15 Tests and even scored a double century. But with Michael Vaughan, Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Strauss firmly entrenched, Key failed to establish a spot in the top order.

 

Amol Muzumdar is another who never got to play at the highest level, despite scoring heavily and consistently season after season.

 

(Vinay Anand, 17, has an uncanny eye for detail. He revers cricket – looking beyond the glamour into the heart of the game where true passion, perseverance and grit meet. To him, there is no greater joy than coming closer to the sport while exploring its intricacies through his writing and treading ahead to establish himself as a writer and presenter)