Rahul Dravid has featured as a player and a mentor in the Indian Premier League (IPL). But his time as a mentor for the Rajasthan Royals franchise was more convincing as he helped the players buy a lot of smart players, who can be useful in the lucrative tournament. Among them was Australia’s Brad Hodge.
Hodge was not a hard-hitting batsman like Chris Gayle or AB de Villiers. He played steady knock to help the scoreboard ticking as it was one of his major aspects. Dravid said that, one aspect, they noticed about Hodge was that he had a phenomenal record in the shortest format in Australia but an average performance in India.
Dravid also said that he believed Hodge to be an excellent player against fast bowling but he wasn’t as good against left-arm spin. The former India captain decided then solely decided to buy Hodge from the auction as he would come handy in death overs and Rajasthan Royals could bat him in the final 5-6 overs.
“After RCB, I moved on to RR and I got into more of a captain-coach-management role and we were looking through a lot of data and stats. At RR, we were literally a Moneyball team. We had to compete with the top teams with 40-60 percent of the budget. It’s not easy in an environment where everyone has a lot of data and knowledge,” Dravid said on the Insights vs Insights panel discussion.
“One of the things we noticed was Brad Hodge… had a phenomenal T20I record in Australia and had probably played 5-6 IPLs, and had a very average or poor record in India. Once we looked at the data closely, we sort of realised why he was struggling in India. He was clearly a player who was very good against fast bowling, but wasn’t very good against, say, left-arm spin bowling and leg spin. But he had an incredible strength of being good against fast bowling.”
“One of the things we looked at was, which is the position of the game where someone like Hodge will play only fast bowling, and we sort of looked at the last four-five overs where everyone brings their best death bowlers back into the game. We decided at that stage that we will buy him in the auction, and bat him in the last 5-6 overs in the match,” Dravid added.
Hodge played between 2012 to 2014 for Rajasthan Royals. His stint for the Jaipur franchise came after he already featured for Kolkata Knight Riders and Kochi Tuskers Kerala.
The Australia scored 245 and 293 runs Rajasthan Royals as his strike rate also went up to 140 during his time at Rjasthan Royals.