Cricket Australia

http://www.cricket.com.au/Global Items/news/2012/11/21/no-excuses-for-stars-says-hodge

Hodge: No excuses for Stars

UPDATED 12 February, 2013 4:00PM AEST | by James Ranson, Omnisport 3

Melbourne Stars recruit Brad Hodge anticipates an aggressive approach from the tournament favourites under captain Shane Warne in this year's Big Bash League.

The Stars squad is littered with talent from Warne and Sri Lanka quick Lasith Malinga, to past and present Australian internationals in Hodge, James Pattinson, Dave Hussey, Glenn Maxwell, Clint McKay, Rob Quiney, Cameron White and Matthew Wade.

Hodge himself swapped the red of the Melbourne Renegades to the Stars' green and he knows it will be the team's ability to blend their unquestionable talent with resolve if they are to make good on the favourites' tag.

The Stars first take on the Renegades in the derby at Etihad Stadium on December 7 and Hodge believes Warne's attacking approach will have the perfect binding effect on the star-studded squad and expects the Stars to go deep in the tournament.

"Whenever you put Warney at the top and give him the reins you know you're going to be in for a rocky ride to win the tournament, that's exactly what he is there for," Hodge said.

"Looking at the list, you'd like to think every base is covered. You'd like to think that a) we'd make the semi-finals and b) we'd win the final.

"There's certain people behind this team that are very driven to win and make sure it succeeds."

At 38 and in the twilight of his career, Hodge felt the time was right to move to the Stars, holding true to his promise to retire if his skills ever started to wane.

"Being a Melbourne person, my family is here. I don't need to make an impact interstate or prove anything with my form or how skilled I am at playing," he said.

"It's just a matter of entertainment and contributing to the team and hopefully I can have that impact.

"If I can just finish my career off where I started, it just felt right (crossing to the Stars)."

Last year's skipper White stood aside for Warne and said that although he loved leading the team, he is relishing concentrating primarily on his role in the side.

"I am looking forward to it, obviously with Warney in charge it frees me up to enjoy being part of the Twenty20," White said.

"It's (captaincy) never been something I haven't enjoyed or caused me too much stress.

"I enjoy that it brings out the best in me but when you don't have it gives you a chance to do other things in training and relax and play."

Like Hodge, White expects plenty of fireworks from the Stars' litany of international talent, some of whom were plastered across one of Melbourne's trams for the team launch on Wednesday.

"Looking at Malinga there on the end of the tram is exciting and Maxwell is in as well. I think the squad has only improved," he said.

"Warney's natural way is very aggressive and that's the way you have to play Twenty20 - there's no room to sit back and wait for someone else to make a play.

"It suits Warney down to the ground and that's why he's been successful with Rajasthan (Royals) in the past in the IPL and any cricket team he's touched really."

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 21 November, 2012 6:05PM AEST

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