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Bradg Hodge called up to the IPL

Lancashire's Australian batsman Brad Hodge is leaving the county to spend five weeks playing in the Indian Premier League.

The 33-year-old Aussie, a veteran of five Tests and 25 ODIs, is to join the Kolkata Knight Riders to play out the remaining five weeks of the inaugural IPL Twenty20 tournament.

Lancashire are not bringing in a replacement for the former Durham and Leicestershire star, who will return to the north west county at the end of the sub-continental extravaganza.

Hodge will join compatriots Ricky Ponting and David Hussey in the Kolkata squad and admitted his surprise at being called up to the lucrative new league.

"I'm still in shock at the opportunity that has been presented," he said. "Twenty20 is a format I really enjoy and to be part of the inaugural IPL tournament is something most cricketers would find hard to turn down.

"It's been an extremely difficult decision to make, but Lancashire have been very understanding of my situation and I hope to repay them on the field when I return."

Lancashire chief executive Jim Cumbes said: "Although it's disappointing to be losing a player of his calibre for part of our season, we are very lucky at Lancashire to have depth in our squad and this is a great opportunity for someone else to step up to the plate."

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