Brad Hodge has continued making inroads into the T20 coaching world by signing a three-year deal with Indian Premier League franchise Kings XI Punjab, beginning next year.
Hodge, who is gearing up for BBL|07 after returning to Melbourne Renegades in the off-season where he will both play and work as an assistant coach, has been juggling commitments with the two teams as he looks to improve the fortunes of a side that missed out on last year's IPL finals by two points.
"I've been keeping it pretty quiet but I've been busy behind the scenes, trying to improve the franchise in terms of getting the structures right and so forth," Hodge told cricket.com.au.
"It's a difficult task being here, and I want to prep well for Big Bash, so getting that balance has been good fun actually.
"I love the strategic management of Twenty20. I love working with Andrew (McDonald, Renegades coach), talking about team structures … what roles we can manipulate, that sort of stuff is really good fun.
"And with Punjab, I'm going to spend $12m dollars at an auction in a single day – that's good fun, too!"
Hodge coached Gujarat Lions in their first two years in the IPL with mixed success, finishing first during the regular season in 2016 before being eliminated in the finals, then coming seventh in 2017 with four wins and 10 losses as his team was afflicted by injuries to influential players.
At Kings XI, where he will work with director of cricket Virender Sehwag, he will add to the Australian flavour – Glenn Maxwell captained the franchise in the 2017 tournament – but it is the next generation of Indian superstars he is targeting.
"We haven't got any huge Indian names as such – no Virat (Kohli), no Rohit (Sharma)," he said. "But that's something we want to try to attract.
"We're not going to get those players but we're probably looking for the next Virat or Rohit, and if we can find them, we're looking at not just a short-term plan but a five-year plan as well."
More pressing for the 42-year-old however is the upcoming KFC Big Bash, which begins for the Renegades next Thursday, December 21, when they travel to Hobart to take on the Hurricanes.
Hodge left Adelaide Strikers at the end of last summer and has brought a couple of potentially key figures across with him in paceman Kane Richardson and left-arm spinner Jon Holland.
However, it is his own form that the Victorian legend is focused on, after assuring McDonald that he would endeavour to maintain the standards he has set himself over 24 decorated seasons in Australian domestic cricket.
"It's important to me that I'm up to speed," said Hodge, who is the fifth-highest run-scorer in BBL history. "When Andrew approached me to see if I wanted to play, he's a good friend, so I said to him, '(As long as this is) on merit, not friendship. If you think I can play a role and make a difference in your side, then by all means'.
"That was one thing I promised him – that I'll be physically and mentally ready."