It's hard to replace a superstar like Raina: Hodge

It's hard to replace a superstar like Raina: Hodge

Till last year, Brad Hodge was a crucial cog in the now-suspended Rajasthan Royals’ team. Having put his playing days behind, the Australian has successfully managed the campaign of debutants Gujarat Lions as their coach.

Sitting at second place with 14 points with only run-rate separating them from leaders Sunrisers Hyderabad, Hodge spoke about his team’s performance in the league so far, missing Suresh Raina for Saturday’s clash with Royal Challengers Bangalore among other things. Excerpts:

On what's worked for Gujarat: We've had some excellent leadership from Suresh. I've encouraged him to be his own leader, his own person, to bring out the leadership qualities that have been within. He's been with Mahendra Singh Dhoni for a long time, so this was his first opportunity to come and really explore what he's like as a captain and he's done that marvellously well. And one thing we have all across the board in GL is match winners. We've always said that – from the two openers that walk out, to the guys that take the new ball, our spinners, Bravo, something like that, who can turn the game.

On missing Raina: It's a huge loss. Anyone that's scored close to 4000 runs in this tournament is a loss to our line-up. Having said that we've got some players who can step into his role. We've got a lot of experience in Smith, McCullum, Finch, Dinesh Karthik, Jaddu (Jadeja), Bravo, all match-winners who can step up and win us a game. We'll look at who's going to fill his role at No 3 (tomorrow)...We'll do our best to cover for Suresh, but once you lose a superstar like that he is hard to replace.

On why teams choose to chase: Not sure, maybe it's the wickets, they've been a little bit better this IPL which is interesting because the World Cup (World T20) really didn't show that the wickets were that great. But the wickets here have been unbelievably good for batting. When I walk out and see the wickets myself I get a little bit thirsty to have a walk out there and have a bat. That's the only reason I can put it down to. Players also are a little bit more comfortable with chasing, they're also more knowledgeable, IPL sides have big power hitters down the order... There are certain venues that lend itself towards that, like Chinnaswamy, with 55 million boundaries or whatever they are… It's just not big enough in this modern day.

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