Melbourne Stars heavy-hitter Brad Hodge will be the number one drawcard at Lavington Sports Ground tomorrow with the former Test batsman confirming his appearance in the Bush Bash.
Lavington will host the Melbourne, Ringwood and Frankston Peninsula cricket clubs on the weekend as the annual Victorian Premier Cricket Country Round undergoes a revamp this summer with Twenty20 triple-headers staged across six regional centres ahead of the KFC T20 Big Bash League (BBL).
Fresh off a 24-hour dash across the Tasman to represent Auckland in the New Zealand domestic T20 competition, Hodge, arguably one of the game’s most destructive batsmen, will feature under lights in the Melbourne outfit that tackles Ringwood from 7pm.
Hodge said he was looking forward to getting up to Albury this weekend to continue his preparation for the up-coming BBL.
“I just want to get as much cricket in as I can, I feel as if I’m in good form so that’s not an issue, it’s just about getting as much match practice as I can,” Hodge said.
“It’s really important to reach out to regional areas.”
The Demons will boast a formidable line-up that may include the Stars’ Alex Keath, should he be released from his 12th man duties in the current Bupa Sheffield Shield fixture, along with Melbourne Renegades batsman Michael Hill.
Across the state, Hill is one of eight Renegades who will be in action over the weekend with Will Sheridan to mark his return from injury alongside spinner Aaron O’Brien for Richmond in Wangaratta.
All-rounder Brendan Drew will oppose the pair when he comes off the long run for Camberwell.
Former Test quick Darren Pattinson will take the reins of Dandenong in Morwell, with Nottinghamshire batsman Steven Mullaney and former Queensland leg-spinner Dan Doran among the players he can call on.
Fitzroy Doncaster have cunningly recruited South Australian Daniel Harris, who is expected to open the batting for the Melbourne Renegades this summer, for its Bush Bash fixtures, while the Casey-South Melbourne line-up will feature Melbourne Stars spinner Clive Rose.
The Renegades’ newest recruit, Fawad Ahmed, will turn out for Melbourne University in Bendigo, while fellow leg-spinner James Muirhead, fresh off 7-26 from 21 overs last week, will be St Kilda’s trump card.
Renegades young gun Meyrick Buchanan will also be hoping to put his best bet forward when he takes to the field with Geelong in Horsham opposed to Essendon and Footscray Edgewater.
Meanwhile, former Test leg-spinner Bryce McGain will headline the talent for Prahran at the Barooga Recreation Reserve tomorrow when they confront Northcote and North Melbourne.
McGain, 40, played for the Adelaide Strikers in last year’s inaugural BBL but was not offered a deal for this season.
The door remains ajar, however, with a dozen positions across the competition to be filled ahead of the November 30 deadline.
As a result, McGain and his True Blues teammate, Daniel Salpietro, who also played for the Strikers last summer, will be hoping to shine for the defending Victorian Premier Cricket T20 champions.
“I still want to play at the highest possible level,” McGain said.
“It’s a good imitative (the Bush Bash), we’re looking forward to heading up to the Murray and playing a lot of cricket.
“You never know when opportunity can arise, so you just need to be ready for it.”
A number of additional activities are expected to take place at the Bush Bash venues, with a strong CFA presence at the Victorian venues.
Cricket Victoria is committed to ensuring that all Victorians are FireReady this summer and have partnered the Victorian Government to promote the annual Summer Fire Campaign.
Download the FireReady smartphone app so you can check fire warnings at any time wherever you are.
For more information on Premier Cricket, click here.