Lehmann has 'brought enjoyment back' - Rogers
Chris Rogers has hailed Australia's coach, Darren Lehmann, for bringing a sense of enjoyment back into playing for the national side. Speaking to Alison Mitchell in her latest Tea Break interview for ESPNcricinfo, Rogers praised Lehmann's "old-school mentality" as something he could relate to.
Rogers, who scored a phenomenal 241 to lead Middlesex to a magnificent victory against Yorkshire, has become a fixture in Australia's Test side at the age of 36 and also talks about his strength in adversity, saying his Ashes hundred in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG was particularly special as "there was lots of pressure there". He discusses splitting his life between England and Australia, scoring 200 for Leicestershire against his countrymen in 2005 and the possibility of going into coaching when he retires.
Rogers, who played a solitary Test in 2008, returned to the Australia squad for last year's Ashes tour, at the start of which Mickey Arthur was replaced as coach by Lehmann. Despite losing that series 3-0, Rogers said Lehmann had an immediate impact.
"I grew up a little bit in the old-school days, when it was far more relaxed, you did enjoy yourself," he said. "Now it's far more professional. I think 'Boof' has brought back that old-school mentality a little bit. I remember the first thing he did, we had a meeting and he said it won't go for more than half an hour and when it did hit half an hour, he said, 'Right, that's it, we're all going to the pub'.
"We went to the pub and I could look around and see the guys and it was almost like, 'Is this really happening?' I think he's brought that enjoyment back, where you play hard and you play to win but you also enjoy yourself and you don't take yourself too seriously. I enjoy that because I think that's the kind of mentality I try to bring to Middlesex and the other sides I play for. My Test career has coincided with his coaching career and it's worked out well for me particularly."
Since then, Rogers has scored four Tests centuries and been an important cog in the side that whitewashed England in the return Ashes in Australia and then beat South Africa on their own patch. With Australia's next Test commitment coming in the UAE against Pakistan, he will have a full season with Middlesex, for whom he scored his 67th first-class hundred against Yorkshire earlier this week.
The full interview with Chris Rogers in Alison's Tea Break will be published on Thursday