Hogg not using autographs as an excuse

Brad Hogg accepted blame for the Melbourne Renegades’ loss to the Perth Scorchers at the WACA Ground on Monday night but rejected suggestions he had been distracted by signing merchandise on the boundary line moments before he his fateful drop of Ashton Turner.
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The Renegades looked destined to finally end their winless streak against the Scorchers, having posted an imposing total of 3-185 from their 20 overs and appeared in control of the game with Perth 2-80 in the 11th over. But with Turner on 16, Hogg spilled a catch at third man off the bowling of Jack Wildermuth. Turned then turned it on, charging to 70 from 32 balls to spearhead a stunning Scorchers victory, their eighth in eight Big Bash League matches against the Renegades.

The win took Perth to the top of the table, and while the Renegades (4-2) are still well on track to end their finals drought, the defeat could cost them a home semi-final given the top four, which also features Adelaide and Brisbane, is tight.

Hogg, who turns 47 next month, also had Hilton Cartwright stumped for 22 and was heading for tidy figures before conceding 13 runs off what was effectively the final legitimate delivery he bowled to Turner (a six off a no-ball then another six). He ended with 1-38 from four overs.

The match was Hogg’s first since he left the Scorchers after the 2015-16 season, and his last at his long-time home ground, with Perth moving to the new Optus Stadium for any home finals this season, and then permanently from next summer.

Still a clear fan favourite, Hogg said he’d been emotional on game day given he was farewelling his long-time cricket home. He had smiling interactions with the crowd for much of the game, and had been signing gear just before he spilled the catch, appearing somewhat rushed as he made his way back into position with the ball travelling towards him.

However the veteran left-arm spinner wasn’t going to use the crowd as any sort of excuse. “I’m not going to blame that. If anything … the ball was slightly to the left of the lights,” Hogg said.

“At the end of the day, it is what it is. I dropped a catch that cost us the game, you know you’re going to have days like that.

“At the of the day, we all drop them. You’re never happy when you drop them. I had nowhere to hide so I had to turn around and sort of smile and carry on.”

Hogg, who added that he was yet to decide whether he could continue playing next season, suggested he was still bowling well. “It was just those last two balls [that let me down], and that’s going to happen in cricket,” he said.

The Renegades’ next game is against the Melbourne Stars in the season’s second Melbourne derby at Etihad Stadium on Friday night. The Renegades will from this point of the tournament be without captain Aaron Finch because of n international duties, while Afghan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi’s final game for the season is on Friday night, with he, too, set to join his national side. Nabi will be replaced by West Indian Kieron Pollard, while Cameron White – who is averaging 142.5 with the bat this BBL season – is expected to take over as captain. Hogg suggested the Renegades’ batting depth could allow them to pick an extra bowler to replace Finch in the XI. The Renegades have picked the same side for all six of their games, with quick Chris Tremain, spinner Jon Holland and all-rounder Matt Short among those waiting in the wings.

Hogg said he felt for Finch, and wanted to do “the right thing” by the departing captain if the side made the finals for the first time in five years. “He’s given his life to the Renegades, and I know what it feels like when you sort of give your heart to a club and you still haven’t got the chocolates,” Hogg said.

Hogg also suggested that the impressive Turner, a one-time teammate, had what it took to be a future n captain.

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