Former Test quick Rodney Hogg has accepted his role in firing up the West Indies before their shock win over Australia … more or less.
The West Indies secured one of the great upsets in Test cricket history when the world’s eighth-ranked team beat the world champions by eight runs at the Gabba.
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It was the Caribbean outfit’s first win on Australian soil in 27 years and afterwards, their skipper Kraigg Brathwaite admitted Hogg’s words had helped inspire his team.
Hogg, who played 38 Tests and 71 ODI’s for Australia from 1978-1985, didn’t hold back in his assessment of the current Windies squad prior to the Brisbane Test.
“Let’s not beat around the bush, they were hopeless (in Adelaide),” Hogg told 10 News.
“We should have two divisions now. We can’t have these weak sides coming out here … they’re pathetic.”
Those words were heard loud and clear by Brathwaite and the visiting playing group.
“He expressed what he felt about us as a group and we just wanted to let him know we heard him,’’ Brathwaite said on the podium following their stunning triumph.
“His words were extra motivation for us. Playing Test cricket is never easy. This is a new beginning for us.’’
When CODE Sports told Hogg how he had motivated the tourists, the 72-year-old admitted he had made a mistake, in a round about way.
“A few days ago Steve Smith was being bagged as a hopeless opening batsman and the West Indies were crap and now look what’s happened?’’ Hogg said.
“How good is Test cricket? That’s why we love it.”
Not quite an apology or admission of guilt, more a statement that we can all make mistakes.
Smith of course answered his critics over his new role as opener with an unbeaten 91 in the second innings that nearly carried Australia over the line.
Instead, Shamar Joseph earned all the plaudits in just his second Test as his seven wickets in that second dig decimated the home side.
“I think it’s fantastic for West Indian cricket. Good on the underdogs,” Hogg added to CODE Sports.
“I thought it would be a three or four-day game but I didn’t tip the Windies to win it.
“Obvious Shamah Joseph was incredible.
“For a guy playing his second game it was amazing really. Even just his batting was good.
“Some of his stroke play in the first game reminded me of Garry Sobers.’’
OK Rodney, that might be a bit too much of an overcorrection.
Sobers averaged almost 58 with the bat, took 235 Test wickets and was named one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the last Century.
But we get it, the 24-year-old Joseph was incredibly impressive.
The Aussies had a chance to complete a clean summer sweep if they could secure victory at the Gabba, but Joseph tore the Aussies apart.
He ended with figures of 7/68, all the more remarkable considering he had left the field in agony on day three after he was hit on the toe by a Mitchell Starc yorker.
He wasn’t expected to be a factor at all on the final day and instead played the key role in ending a winless run against Australia dating back to 2003 or 20 Test matches.
Joseph wasn’t even supposed to play, revealing he wasn’t even going to come to the ground.
“I wasn’t even coming on the ground this morning,” he said after sealing the victory.
“I must give a shout out to Dr. Byam (West Indies team physiotherapist), he’s been an amazing doctor to me.
“He told me to come to the ground for a reason, even if it’s just to support the guys. But he did something to my toe, I don’t know what he did, but something that worked.
“So I had time to go out there and bowl and bring this game home for my team.”
Afterwards, Adam Gilchrist had some sobering words for the world’s No. 1 ranked side over its efforts in both the West Indies series and the prior three-Test clash with Pakistan.
“There are a few things for Pat Cummins and his team to think about,” he said on Fox Cricket.
“They were challenged at times by Pakistan and Pakistan let themselves down. They’ll be really disappointed, they had the chance for a perfect summer.
“Maybe the one consolation is Steve Smith, he looks like he made enough adjustments to be an opening batter in Test cricket.”
The result was also the first time Australia had lost a pink-ball, day-night Test match.
Rodney Hogg interview originally published as Hogg: I’m glad I fired up ‘fantastic’ West Indies