Rogers' home Test farewell no secret
Two summers ago, Michael Hussey made a private resolution to retire after the end of the Sydney Test. Save for his wife Amy and mentor Bob Carter, Hussey told nary a soul.
He was untrusting of the Australian team's leadership at the time, and worried that any hint of retirement plans would see him dropped before his chosen moment. When Hussey sidled up to Mickey Arthur and Michael Clarke to tell them of his plans at the end of the 2012 Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka, their jaws dropped.
This week another studious, left-handed son of the West, Chris Rogers, is keeping no such secrets. He has said for some time that the 2015 Ashes tour will likely be his last international assignment, and at the SCG he had no qualms stating that it would take an enormous change in thinking to have him back preparing for another Test match at this ground in a year's time.
Rogers' upfront discussion of his future contrasts with the often indignant or even angry responses of others who have heard that their place might be questioned by the public, the media or others in the game. But he has reasoned that by making sure the selectors do not have to make the call on his future, he can leave a late-blooming Test career at his preferred date of departure.
"You never say never but I kind of looked at the future and thought the England series and what England has meant for me would be a nice way to finish, so hopefully I can get through to the Ashes," Rogers said. "I think you get to a point where touring can be quite difficult. Playing a lot of cricket can kind of get to you a little bit in the end so I'm looking forward to maybe new challenges as well, but they can wait for the moment.
"I've been fairly open about it. And I guess in some respects after England I think with the series coming up, maybe that would be a good time for a newer player to come in. I think personally a new guy trying to play in the Ashes in England would be very difficult. That's hopefully on my side so I'll keep saying that."
The series Rogers speaks of include a tour of Bangladesh followed by home Test meetings against New Zealand and West Indies - the sort of assignments for which the christening of new players will be less vexing than an Ashes tour. They are also likely to include at least one day-night Test next summer, something the colourblind Rogers is less than eager about trying.
As with all members of the team, Rogers has gone through his share of trials in a season changed irrevocably by the loss of Phillip Hughes. Struck in the back of the helmet while fielding at short leg, Rogers' life and career flashed before his eyes, adding currency to the long-held thoughts about what life would mean beyond the game. But he has steadied notably since, four consecutive 50s shoring up his place and demonstrating why he will be missed.
"I've always prided myself on being consistent and having those low scores in the UAE and the first Test here, that kind of hurt," he said. "To feel like I wasn't contributing that did get a little bit under my skin. So it's nice just to feel like I'm doing a good job for the side and particularly when there's been a couple of times when it's been quite tough and they've been quite crucial runs, that's nice.
"On day one [in Melbourne] when you're 1-0 and then you're able to put on a hundred-run partnership, that was pretty crucial to setting up the whole game. And then in the second innings, it was a little bit difficult there for a while and I thought I added a little bit of stability. I guess from there it'd just be excellent to go on and get a big score personally. But at least I think I'm doing a little bit of a job for the side."
Rogers has also found the time to demonstrate his value around the team doing the things that, in Darren Lehmann's words, "you don't see". These have included spending time with the Melbourne debutant Joe Burns and also offering a reassuring voice in support of Shane Watson, who helped Rogers ensure the early loss of David Warner on Boxing Day would not be a critical blow to Australia's first innings.
"He does put a lot of pressure on himself and he's desperate to do well, probably overly harsh on himself at times," Rogers said of Watson. "The 100-run partnership we put on in the first innings when we were 1-0, I think that set up the whole game. That was crucial. If we'd been 2-10 and Smithy had come in and had to face the new ball, then things might have been completely different.
"So I think he did a crucial job in the last game and obviously with the ball as well. So we don't think he's a passenger. I know he gets a lot of criticism but he's still crucial to us and this week is going to be interesting for him because it's going to be an emotional time but I think everyone in the side is desperate to see him do well, so hopefully he goes out and has a great game."
Given the lack of secrecy about Rogers' future, it can be safely assumed that he would dearly want to sign off from Test matches in Australia with an SCG hundred. Not even the most forward-thinking of selectors would begrudge him that.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig