ACT Invitational XI v Indians, Canberra, 2nd day January 11, 2008

Rogers hopes for home debut



Chris Rogers: "I probably couldn't script it better to be at the WACA at the home ground with a home crowd. It would be pretty amazing I reckon." © Getty Images
 
Chris Rogers, who could replace the injured Matthew Hayden, expects the Perth pitch to provide Indian batsmen with the biggest test of their careers. Rogers has made only 148 runs in six games this season at the WACA, his home ground, and feels India's batsmen have a "huge challenge" ahead of them.

"The groundsman likes to leave a little bit of moisture in it, just to hold it together," said Rogers in the Manuka Oval in Canberra, where he scored 60 against the Indians on the second day. "Generally when it's a bit moist it does have that trampoline bounce. But with a bit of heat on it, it will fly through and probably get the carry that it had back in the eighties and nineties.

"Well let's just say I probably wouldn't want to face the Australian attack on it. It will be a huge challenge for them and if you can score runs, it's probably one of the ones you'll say one of your best innings ever. It's been pretty tough, particularly for the guys at the top of the order. They've got the bounce back so it will be interesting to see what happens next week and particularly if they [Australian selectors] do go with the four quicks."

Rogers assessed the Indian bowling attack, having faced them in the warm-up match in Canberra. "Pathan bowled particularly well and swung the ball," he said. "With the Fremantle doctor [wind in Perth] he'll be a huge threat I reckon. Ishant Sharma bowled really well and got the (first three) wickets but really hit the deck hard and I think that will be a key for them at the WACA. Anil Kumble could be a good challenge on there with the extra bounce."

Rogers was in contention for an opening slot at the start of the summer but was struck down with appendicitis, missing out to Phil Jaques. Rogers appeared to have the edge, especially with a Pura Cup run tally with 1202 at 70.70. "It probably couldn't have happened at a worse time," he said.

"I wondered what I had done wrong. But it's just one of those things that happens and you have to pick yourself up and get on with it. I always thought there could be another opportunity down the line. We've [Jaques] opened together a few times now, a couple of A tours now. I'm pretty familiar with the way he bats."

Rogers believes he is ready to step into Test cricket if the call up does arrive, especially since the Test is in Perth. "I've been hitting them pretty well lately," he said. "I had a good year last year and thought I was a pretty good chance for the first Test [against Sri Lanka]. You never really know but I feel pretty good and I feel ready to step up and make my debut.

"I've been waiting for this moment for a while and if it doesn't happen next week, I do think I'll be ready. I probably couldn't script it better to be at the WACA at the home ground with a home crowd. It would be pretty amazing I reckon. I probably couldn't script it better to be at the WACA at the home ground with a home crowd. It would be pretty amazing I reckon."

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo