Bushrangers hit by Hodge injury
Victoria batsman Brad Hodge wants to play in Saturday's domestic Twenty20 final against New South Wales, but his coach is already hunting for a replacement.
Hodge injured his hamstring during his man-of-the-match innings of 59 not out against Queensland in the preliminary final on Wednesday night, steering Bushrangers into the grand final despite the injury.
Should Hodge be ruled out it would be a major blow to Bushrangers, with many claiming the 34-year-old as the best batsman in Twenty20 cricket.
Hodge averages a remarkable 42 with the bat in Twenty20 matches and has struck three 50s in six innings so far this season at an average of 65.50.
And while Hodge admitted his injury wasn't looking good, he wasn't ready to rule himself out just yet.
"We'll just have to wait and see, it's not ideal at the moment," Hodge said.
"It doesn't feel that great but we'll just have to wait and see, get out there and test it out.
"I want to play, it's a final.
"Obviously I'm pretty disappointed at the moment to be in this position but my job was to try and get the boys into a final and we've achieved that.
"I'm just trying to be fit and trying to win a title for Victoria.
"If I'm not fit then I won't play, that's going to hinder the team's performance, but if I'm fit then I'll play."
But Victoria coach Greg Shipperd said he wasn't confident Hodge would play, leaving Bushrangers without three of their biggest names for the game.
With all-rounders Cameron White and David Hussey on international duty, Shipperd knows he can ill-afford to lose Hodge as well.
"The news on his injury is not good, the first assessment is that he's going to be a couple of weeks out," Shipperd said.
"We'll do everything we can to try and get him up but that's basically where we're at.
"I think we've lost him for the game and we need to search very quickly for a replacement for him."
Shipperd refused to rule out looking overseas for Hodge's replacement in a similar move to NSW's controversial recruitment of New Zealand star Brendon McCullum.
But the Victoria coach admitted such a move would be an unlikely proposition with time so tight.