BRAD Hodge has approached Victoria's selectors about a comeback to first-class cricket in the hope of making an astonishing late bid for Ashes selection.
Fairfax Media understands Hodge first broached the idea with Victoria about a fortnight ago, in the aftermath of Mike Hussey's retirement, and the state selectors are considering whether to pick him in the Sheffield Shield after he returns from the Bangladesh Premier League on February 14.
It's understood several key people within Cricket Victoria would have to support Hodge's quest for him to be ushered back into the team three years after his retirement from first-class cricket. They are also keen to know how the national selectors would view his eligibility for an unexpected Test recall.
The sudden retirement of Hussey opened up a vacancy that brought his brother David back into calculations on account of his experience, and the 38-year-old Hodge also glimpsed the faintest of opportunities for a one-off series against England.
He was a non-playing squad member during the 2005 Ashes and played the first of his six Tests soon afterwards. Widely thought to have been unlucky not to have forged a more substantial international career, he was again ignored for international Twenty20 selection this week despite his powerful form in the Big Bash League. ''You'd never say never, but unlikely,'' national selector John Inverarity said of Hodge's short-form selection prospects.
Hodge has exclusively been playing Twenty20 for the past year but declared this week in Bangladesh that he could still excel for Australia. ''Would I like to play for Australia? Of course, everyone would,'' Hodge said after making 53 for Barisal in Dhaka. ''I probably deserved to play a little bit more when I had the opportunity. It seems there's a lot more rotating players than when I was in my prime.
''I am still playing good enough to represent Australia. But I do believe that my opportunity is passed. Having said that I am considering after this tournament, to go back to four-day cricket and have a quick shot at trying to make the Ashes team.''
Hodge's manager, Gerard Sholly, said the batsman was ''flying a kite, obviously, but if someone wanted to take hold of it he'd run with it''.
''Hodgey is still seen as an outstanding player and his form in the Big Bash and previously the Ryobi Cup - he was always among the top run-scorers in the competition. He also had a good IPL. He's still a world-class player who knows his game well,'' Sholly said.
Regardless of his Test ambitions, a shield comeback could conceivably work in Victoria's favour at the end of the season if one of Hussey or Glenn Maxwell is chosen to tour India.