Lancashire 221-9 dec Somerset 238 & 262-8 <i>(Match drawn)</i>: Lancashire in lurch as Hodge goes to IPL

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The Independent Online

County dressing-rooms around the country will be on alert after the pulling power of the rupee landed another high-profile recruit as Australia's Brad Hodge defected to the Indian Premier League last night.

Lancashire reluctantly agreed to a request from their 33-year-old overseas player to be released from his contract after Kolkata Knight Riders made Hodge an offer he was clearly unable to refuse.

He completed Lancashire's drawn Championship match with Somerset but will be in India for the next five weeks, missing three four-day matches and at least seven in the Friends Provident Trophy.

Hodge had earlier insisted he was committed to honouring his contract with Lancashire, which ends this summer. His stance has changed, however, following an offer believed to be in the region of £35,000 from Kolkata. "I was approached only 48 hours ago and I'm still in shock at the opportunity that has been presented," he said last night.

"I think my team-mates understand how important it is to me to have the chance to be involved. I think every cricketer wants to be part of this. I don't feel guilty about the decision I have taken, although it will have an impact for Lancashire and it has been sitting uneasily with me over the last couple of days."

Lancashire have no plans to sign a short-term replacement. Mike Watkinson, Lancashire's cricket manager, said he felt "a little bit dropped in it".

Lancashire declared on 221 for 9 but their hopes of bowling out Somerset cheaply foundered when Justin Langer made a gutsy 76 and Ian Blackwell 58 as the visitors ground out a draw. Andrew Flintoff was used sparingly, bowling only eight overs, although he still managed to hit Langer in the ribs and on the forearm in an aggressive morning spell.