Melbourne, Jul 5 : Brad Hodge will represent the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League.
Hodge on Sunday confirmed his commitment to the team based at Etihad Stadium, although he declined to elaborate on his reasons for choosing the Renegades ahead of the Melbourne Stars or an interstate side until his signing is confirmed this week, reports the Age.
He did say, though, that he wanted to stay in his home town. ''With the family I was definitely keen to stay in Melbourne, and it's my home. There were opportunities to go elsewhere but I chose not to,'' he told The Sunday Age.
Both Melbourne teams are waiting until this week to unveil their first recruits, although it is an open secret that Cameron White will captain a Stars team containing David Hussey, the only batsman in the world who has scored more Twenty20 runs than Hodge, and several other Victorians including fast bowlers Peter Siddle and James Pattinson.
Hodge fits the recruiting philosophy stated by Renegades coach Simon Helmot, who said he would invest heavily in Victoria's proven Twenty20 performers, and would presumably be a strong contender to captain the team.
Dwayne Bravo, the West Indies all-rounder, said from the Caribbean yesterday that he was talking to one of the Melbourne teams but was yet to commit. His younger brother Darren, an exciting talent, is also believed to be on the market.
Simon Katich is so far the only player to change states for the Big Bash, signing up with Perth Scorchers, but Tasmanian captain George Bailey has been linked with the Melbourne Stars, who will be based at the MCG.
Meantime, the Big Bash's most expensive signing, Chris Gayle, suggested he would become a Twenty20 freelancer because of a complete breakdown in relations with the West Indies board. Although he stressed he had not retired from any form of cricket, and remained available to the West Indies, he said it was time to ''explore the opportunities available'' elsewhere.
This is consistent with his high asking price to play in Australia, having knocked back $250,000 from Perth to sign with Sydney Thunder.
''I have now reached the stage where I have to say that enough is enough,'' Gayle said in a statement.
''I am now coming close to the end of my shelf-life as a cricketer … and must concentrate on providing for my family … On this basis, and not hearing from the West Indies Cricket Board with any clear pathway forward, I have come to the bitter realisation that I am not wanted by the board and all that has gone before in terms of reconciliation is a sham and a mockery.
''My eyes are open, my heart is clean, my conscience is clear and the voice of reason is loud in my ears telling me that I should close this chapter in my life. I am not going to be the WICB's whipping boy.''