Brad Hogg is known in and around the cricketing circle as the man with the wagging tongue, due to his mannerisms. There will be very few photos of Hogg, in his playing days where his tongue isn’t wagging outside. However, when he recently selected his current Test 11, he left more than a few people ‘wagging’ their brains and scratching their heads.
In an era, where irrespective of the format, Virat Kohli is the first name on the team sheet whenever anyone picks a world 11, Hogg decided to leave him out of the team. While much hue and cry is obviously made by the Indian captain’s omission, a closer look and their is another gaping hole in the team. Kane Williamson, who by all accounts is in the Top 3 test batsman of the world, has also not found a place in the team.
While it is understandable that the number 4 position would be reserved for the undisputed king of Tests Steve Smith, it was surprising that Kohli wasn’t picked at 5, the Australian chose Babar Azam instead. To his credit though, Hogg had his reasons for picking the Pakistani over the Indian. Also, the reason for not picking Williamson who bats at number 3 was the exceptional year that Marnus Labuschagne had at the same spot. And Hogg has based this team on purely current form and not on reputations.
“The reason why I have included Babar Azam in the lineup is that he scored a hundred against Australia in Brisbane when Pakistan toured Australia last year,” said Hogg. “It’s very hard for overseas teams to perform on that particular wicket but he showed that he could and that is why he is one of the best players going around,” he added in a video on his official YouTube channel.
“Everyone will ask why is Virat Kohli not in this team?” he said. “But if you look at his last 15 Test innings, only four times he has gone over 31 [runs]. That’s why Virat Kohli is not my Test team this year”, the 49-year-old said.
Brad Hogg’s current Test XI:
Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Babar Azam, Ajinkya Rahane, Quinton De Kock (C/WK), Pat Cummins, Mohammed Shami, Neil Wagner, Nathon Lyon.