WHEN you type ‘Andrew Hodd - Lord’s final’ into Google, you don’t have to look too far to get an idea of how frustrating it has been for the former Sussex man when it comes to the business end of a one-day knockout competition.
‘Prior boost for Sussex ahead of Lord’s final’ is the headline on one of the first stories you will see, relating to the 2009 Friends Provident Trophy final against Hampshire, which Sussex actually lost.
England wicketkeeper Matt Prior was made available to play ahead of Hodd and Ben Brown, who had both taken the gloves in the lead up to the showpiece.
It was a similar story in 2006, although Hodd hadn’t played at all in the C&G Trophy that year.
Hodd, now at Yorkshire, is in a similar position again in the Royal London one-day Cup with the Vikings flying and looking set to go deep in the competition.
He has been given a first-team chance with Jonny Bairstow on England Lions duty. The latter is due back in the next few days, after today’s clash with Essex Eagles at Scarborough (10.30am).
But a starring role with 69 not out in Friday’s thrilling win at Leicestershire has increased his chances of retaining his place as a specialist batsman.
“The Lord’s final is the pinnacle of county cricket, so they always release the England players,” explained the 30-year-old keeper.
“Down at Sussex we had a couple of finals and, not that I played a full season, but you think ‘oh I’d love to play in a Lord’s final’. That’s the only thing I haven’t done so far.
“I’ve won a few Championships, the Twenty20 and some other one-day comps, but I’ve never played in a Lord’s final. I’d love to do it here, but like I’d imagine, Jonny should come back and rightly so.
“Hopefully that happens (play as a specialist batsman). I can only do what I can and contribute when I do play.”
The fight for first-team places can have an adverse effect on some players. Not Hodd, however, who coach Jason Gillespie has described as the definition of an ideal team man.
“I think I’ve come to the realisation of enjoying my cricket with not too many expectations and no worries about squad selection and stuff,” continued Hodd. “I know the script now, so it’s nice when I do play that I put my hand up.
“Too many times you can get caught up in that, and it only affects you negatively really.”
A fifth win from six matches today will almost certainly be enough to seal Yorkshire’s quarter-final place with two matches to spare.
“We can definitely go all the way in this,” he added. “The cricket we’ve played all year, even in the Twenty20 we showed some real glimpses of excellence. It was just that we imploded in the odd game, which hurt us really.
“Ninety percent of the cricket we’ve played all summer has been top drawer. It’s only those freakish games that have done for us really.
“We’re flying in two comps, and you could say we narrowly missed out on a quarter-final in the Twenty20. It’s a good changing room to be in and a good club to be at.”