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Lancashire accept Brad Hodge~~s absence

Published: Wednesday, April 6, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Manchester:Lancashire have resigned themselves to being without Brad Hodge for at least half of the forthcoming English season after the batsman was included in Australia's 16-man tour squad for the Ashes series.

The 30-year-old signed for Lancashire after leading Leicestershire to victory in last summer's Twenty20 Cup final, but now seems certain to miss large parts of the season.

But instead of helping Lancashire win promotion from the second division of the county championship, Hodge has gained selection at the expense of Darren Lehmann, whose omission seems likely to end to his 27-match Test career and leaves him open to become Yorkshire's full-time overseas player this summer.

However, Lancashire coach Mike Watkinson preferred to offer congratulations to Hodge rather than bemoan his luck, saying: "We're delighted for Brad. He's played consistently well over recent seasons and has been knocking on the door for Test selection for some time.

"This is a great reward for all his efforts. Obviously it gives us a problem as Brad will be unavailable for part of the season, but he's a contracted player with Cricket Australia so we'll be in talks with him shortly to see exactly what his availability is during the summer."

Lancashire were not expecting Hodge to arrive at Old Trafford for a couple of weeks anyway because he is currently being treated for a hernia problem, but remain hopeful he may be available to them at least until the start of July.

The uncapped Hodge has not been considered for Australia's 15-strong One-day squad and with the first Test at Lord's not starting until July 21, Lancashire are hopeful he can make an impact in the first half of the season.

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