Australia news November 7, 2014

Fatigue, pink ball rule out Rogers

Chris Rogers won't turn out for the Bushrangers in their day-night Sheffield Shield fixture © Getty Images

An exhausted Chris Rogers may one day reconsider his aversion to facing the pink ball, but has concluded that he must first practice against it over a longer period than that being provided ahead of Victoria's day-night Sheffield Shield fixture starting on Saturday.

Rogers flew home to Melbourne from the UAE on Wednesday morning, and has declined to turn out for the Bushrangers in the match partly due to the colour-blindness that affected his ability to see the pink projectile when he faced it in an MCC match in Abu Dhabi in 2011.

But the overwhelming factor in the decision is a lack of time, both to rest and also to train against the Kookaburra version of the ball, which is darker and more distinct in its hue than the Dukes that Rogers struggled to pick up four years ago.

"Given my last experience with day-night first-class cricket four years ago had its challenges for me, there are still a lot of unknowns and doubt about it from my perspective, so I've decided to sit this one out," Rogers said. "I've played more first-class cricket than just about anyone in the world this year, so I don't think sitting out one match for Victoria will affect me too much.

"I completely understand why this is being done. It's for the future of Test cricket and Cricket Australia has made every effort to make the ball more visible. I just haven't had the opportunity to practice with it because I've been playing so much."

Given a little more time at home in pre-season to practice against the pink ball Rogers may have played. Unlike many team-mates, Rogers spent the winter playing county cricket for Middlesex, having only three days in Australia between the end of his team's taxing though successful fight to avoid relegation to division two and his departure for Test match duty against Pakistan.

Over the course of the year, Rogers' performances for Middlesex and Australia were consistently solid, and though he was unable to go on from a series of starts in the UAE, the team performance manager Pat Howard said his decision to make himself unavailable for the day-night Shield round would not count against him when the squad for the first Test against India was chosen.

"The selectors have reiterated that no player is judged on one match," Howard said. "The four-man selection panel rate players on their consistency over a period of time and particularly their ability to perform in pressure situations.

"Chris has decided not to play because of colour blindness which made it difficult for him to see the pink Duke ball while playing under lights in Abu Dhabi four seasons ago. However Chris has not practiced against what we believe is a new and improved pink Kookaburra ball to gauge whether he encounters the same problem. I have spoken to Chris about this but understand his concerns and respect his decision."

Even without playing in this match, Rogers will still be able to take part in two Shield fixtures for Victoria ahead of the start of the India Test series, against South Australia at Adelaide Oval and against Western Australia at the MCG. The Test squad for the Gabba is likely to be named during the second of these matches.

Day-night Test matches and the use of the pink ball have become something of a mission for the CA chief executive James Sutherland, who as recently as the board's AGM in Melbourne reiterated his desire to schedule a floodlit five-day match as early as the 2015-16 season.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

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