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Shirin Sadikot in Delhi

Hogg bids farewell to ‘fantastic’ India

Perth Scorchers spinner thanks IPL and Indian fans for fond memories

The game of cricket is richer for characters like Brad Hogg. These are the guys who remind us all that it is, after all, a sport and it is to be enjoyed. And while they enjoy themselves on the field, they spread that joy among those who watch them.

The ever so effervescent chinaman bowler from Australia has been a great entertainer for Indian crowds during his time with the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, not to forget, a real match-winner for his team. Now, as Perth Scorchers played their final match of CLT20 2013, against Mumbai Indians, Hogg informed clt20.com that it was his final tournament in India.

He thanked the Indian crowds for making his experience worth remembering and acknowledged the opportunities that tournaments like the IPL and CLT20 have afforded foreign players.

Although his team bowed out of the tournament without a win under their belt, the 42-year-old spinner picked out various positives they could and should take home from this experience.

Here are excerpts from his interview:

A very tough tournament for the Perth Scorchers

It was a very tough tournament but at the end of the day we will take a lot from it. Young guys like Sam Whiteman and Hilton Cartwright have shown up for us, and that’s what we’re looking at – young guys standing up to fill the shoes of the big names that we miss. It’s good to see our homegrown talent coming through, and that gives us a lot of strength as a team in the future.

Talking about Whiteman, where was this kid all this while? What a debut he had today (51* off 32 balls and Sachin Tendulkar’s catch)

He is also a wicketkeeper! We have a strong ethic back home. Tom Triffitt is our ‘keeper at the moment and he’s had his opportunity. Now that Sam seems to be grabbing his, Tommy will have to perform. It’s good for the team to have two quality ‘keepers who can bat putting pressure on each other. Having said that, both can play in the same team because they’re both good fielders as well.

As a senior player in the side, what was your role in preparing the young guys for such a big stage?

We just try to educate them on how you can get overawed by the occasion. After the first game, the youngsters came out and said that they rushed between balls both while batting and bowling. That was a huge lesson for them. It’s a good experience in such a big tournament where they’re playing against the best of Indian cricketers on their home turf and quality international players as well. These guys wouldn’t have got this exposure if it wasn’t for the CLT20 and if we weren’t missing six of our key players. For our future it’s been fantastic. But in saying that, these guys will have to learn quickly. They’ve got to go home and take away a lot from this experience, register a lot of things in their minds and try to improve every day. If they want to make it big, they’ve got to believe in themselves. In the end, it’s not about saying ‘I hope,’ but saying ‘I will’.

Were you disappointed with missing out the first two matches in Jaipur – the ground you know so well?

I was disappointed, especially knowing that the time is ticking off for me to play for Australia. But it wasn’t about me playing my last few games. It was about us putting together a balanced team for the future and getting the best combination on the park. For that we needed another quick and it was a choice between me and Beery (Michael Beer). Beery has been bowling fantastically and I would’ve been disappointed for him to miss out as well. Look, that’s the nature off the beast; it’s a business. Our business is to make sure that we build a strong Australian team for the future.

Glad to get a game under your belt before going home?

I’ve always had some good competition against the likes of Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Smith. This experience of battling such quality batsmen will not last too long and it’s great to enjoy it while I can. One thing I’ve learned over the last three years is how skillful these players are in T20 cricket. Their ability to hit the ball consistently out of the ground is amazing. I felt I bowled better than what my figures suggest.

One thing I’d like to see is for some of these batsmen to do make the transition from T20 to Test cricket just a bit better because Test cricket is still No.1 in my eyes. But Twenty20 cricket is just fantastic in itself.

I’d just like to thank the Indian crowd for their support. It’s been fantastic to come here and represent Australia. The Indians have brought me so much joy – the noise and the passion has been fantastic. The IPL as a tournament has been a fantastic supporter of cricket and it’s great to see that India puts so much back into the game. If it weren’t for India, we wouldn’t have had so many good opportunities. So, a big thank you to Indian cricket and the Indian crowds.

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