County news April 9, 2013

Now or never again for Rogers


Arthur Coningham, Ken Eastwood, Mick Malone. Three names that are part of a club that Chris Rogers is in danger of joining: the Australian one-Test wonders.

All three enjoyed fine first-class careers but were never given the chance on the international stage. At 35 it is quite perceivable that Rogers will end his career with the same footnote.

It will be quite puzzling if Rogers never plays another Test. He was considered good enough to break into the Australian side, then the world's No. 1, in 2008, but four years later continues to be overlooked for a side struggling for runs.

Rogers reels off the names of players preferred to him since his only Test in Perth. None of them get close to his near-19,000 first-class runs at a shade under 50.

"It has always felt like there's always been someone else who has come in to take that available spot," Rogers told ESPNcricinfo. "Whether it's a Katich or a Cowan or a Hughes. There's always been someone else. It all comes down to opportunity and it would be nice to have had more than one Test to show people that I can play."

He can most certainly play. Last summer he passed 1,000 runs in an English season for the sixth time (he has passed the mark in two Australian seasons). His 1,086 runs at 40.22 led Middlesex to third place in the County Championship - their best finish since 1995.

He cannot be shouting louder in the ears of the Australian selectors. But they continue to allow his case to pass over them. They selected Rob Quiney - only five years Rogers' junior but with fifty fewer first-class centuries - against South Africa before Christmas. And he was allowed to have a go in two Tests.

Selections like Quiney's are a killer to Rogers who can do no more than keep the mobile phone charged up. "It's hard to keep getting excited about the prospect of a recall because I have waited a few years for a phone call and it hasn't come," he said. "The selectors have gone in a different direction and there are only so many times you can get your hopes up."

But maybe this summer Rogers will be too hard to ignore. Australia's top-order batting has consistently failed and a proven run-producer is sitting waiting on the shores to which they will tour. John Inverarity, the Australian chairman of selectors, has said Rogers will be seriously considered. Surely cause for positivity?

"I'm not sure if positive is the right word," Rogers said. "I think there's a chance. Guys who've had the opportunity over the past couple of years haven't really nailed their spot and that has maybe left the door a little bit ajar."

Omission from the Ashes would almost certainly bring a final slump of the shoulders from Rogers, who averages just 0.33-of-a-run below Justin Langer in first-class cricket.

If it is not meant to be Rogers can concentrate on helping Middlesex complete their transformation. When he joined the club in 2011, they were at a particularly low ebb having finished second-bottom of the Championship the year before. But his runs rallied them back into Division One and last season's third sees them installed as contenders for the title in 2013.

A tonic for international disappointment perhaps? "As you get older the desire to win things comes much greater and to captain a side - which two years ago was struggling - to a Championship would be something I could be very proud of. But playing for your country is still the ultimate."

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 14, 2013, 17:13 GMT

    I too would stick with the same top 3, but with no one cemented in at 4 and no one else holding their hand up and demanding selection I think Rogers deserves a crack. Fair enough that he didn´t get a run in the team previously as there has always been the talent and experience but with the departure of Ponting and M.Hussey things have changed. Having already hit a couple of fifties to start the County championship, if he can score a couple of centuries before the first test than he must play, regardless of his age, which in any case may allow him to play two to three years of good test cricket. There´s enough young guys in there gathering experience, we also need some experience and form and someone to shepherd the likes of Warner and Hughes along the way. You´d only be leaving out Watson and he´s certainly not there to gain experience, nor is he scoring runs!

  • Manav on April 14, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    No doubt Rogers is a good batsman but his time has gone. Selecting him for the Ashes will be a huge mistake. Just a short term benefit for back to back ashes but the correct way ahead in my opinion is to stick with Warner and Hughes.

  • John on April 14, 2013, 6:40 GMT

    There are a few things against Rogers. His age is obviously one. He's an opening bat, of which Australia has 4 in the side already. Claims that he can bat anywhere are hopeful rather than based on evidence. He's a left-hander; Aus already has left-handers at 1, 2 and 3; Wade, Johnson, Pattinson, Starc and Khawaja are also left-handers. Against some sides that wouldn't matter, but England has Swann, who is extremely good against left-handers. He doesn't have a central contract. Since these were only handed out a few weeks ago, the selectors are going to look pretty silly if he is preferred to one of the test players (Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Watson) to whom they gave central contracts. Since he's really a top 4 batsman or nothing, it's hard to see him being picked.

    David Hussey, with an even more impressive first-class record than Rogers, didn't even get one test and is now out of the picture. I can't see the selectors going down the Rogers route at this time.

  • Frank on April 13, 2013, 14:21 GMT

    to win ashes, Aus needs 6 batsmen, keeper at 7 (personally i think should be selected on batting priority, but needs good keeping skills as well) 3pace and 1 spinner.

    For tests you build a side that is going to take you to next ashes series, so age doesnt matter. Out of the incumbents drop Watson as he has batted horribly in the last 2 years and him averaging less than 20 in the indian series (in which he was supposed to be one of the expierienced batmen) was dismal, plus he is not bowling. Keep Cowan (shown slow improvement + strong vice captain), Warner and Hughes (despite bad indian tour, had good summers).

    For Watson replacement, Rogers as best option, could FC + county AVG. Thats 5 bats for #6 id go smith/Khawaja.

    For keeper i couldnt care less. Spin - Lyon/o'keefe/ahmed Pace - pick 3 from Cummins, patto, siddle, starc bird

  • Mashuq on April 13, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    Agree mostly @Raza Hyder on (April 12, 2013, 7:08 GMT) I too hope he's selected as opener (fair treatment), despite the Cowan-Warner 'understanding and success'. Hughes is the golden boy so he must play and show how good he is up the order since he sure as hell won't be good later coming in to face Swann! Since Watson has basically failed he should only go as the possible all-rounder. I'd prefer Paine and Burns, but they haven't been in the greatest form and probably England is not the place to make your debut/recall. Cummins too should be kept for the return series. Trying to get the balance of a 17 man squad right is tough. Invers should make it clear Haddin's appointment as VC is for this series only. With these factors in mind the following team/squad might be OK: Rogers, Cowan, Hughes, Clarke, Warner, Khawaja, Haddin, Starc, Pattinson, Harris, Bird. Back up: Watson, Wade, Siddle, Lyon, O'Keefe/Ahmed (if available), Faulkner/Smith (I can't decide! - they might only take 16 anyway)

  • Daniel on April 13, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    @ScottStevo... I certainly agree with Ponting and Hussey being the better plays, but they both chose to retire (Ponting may have been pushed, which was a mistaket).... I still wish Katich was there to be honest, but right now we need some stability at the top of that batting order to give young batsman like Maddinson and Silk some time to develop in Shield cricket, And Rogers would just suit that role perfectly...

    Maybe you're right that Smith has more problems against pace and swing than spin but he has still maintained an average of over 40 in the Shield this year, something few batsman did, including khawaja (buterworth, faulkner and sayers were all swinging the ball consistently).... And given he was the 2nd best performed batsman behind clarke in India I would at least give him a shot in the 1st test but bring back up..

  • Scott on April 12, 2013, 12:00 GMT

    I fail to see sense in suggesting that Rogers is a hardened pro, when the reality is he's played one test match, so is basically a rookie. Club cricket is a far cry from international cricket - just ask M Ramprakash! I'm not saying Rogers couldn't do a job for a year or so, just wondering why bother when we could get so much more from a player who is 25-30... @Mary_786, I hope that he gets his chance in these 2 series. He had a few tests and didn't overly impress, but a lot of guys get dropped and do far better on their second time around. What bothers me is selecting him in the squad and then sidelining the bloke. Somethings amiss here!?! If he's selected, he has to play... @kaos2, I disagree, Wade is not a fine batsman and throws his wicket away needlessly. Seems very immature to me. Looks okay for ODI/T20 pinch hitting, not tests - and certainly nowhere near 5 or 6. I'd prefer Paine, who has played in England as opener in ODI's and done well -also good with the gloves...

  • Dummy4 on April 12, 2013, 7:08 GMT

    I fail to see sense in suggesting Rogers is too old. He still makes runs and consistently so. As for continuity, the reintroduction of a hardened pro would only do Australia's ragged top order some good by demonstrating the basic tenets of long format batting. I'd also like to see him played in his preferred position which means one of Hughes or Warner is dropped on form. I agree with Ducky's top six except I'd swap Khawaja and Smith in the order. Am not entirely sure Hughes will prosper in England against the moving ball so it's a toss up between him and Warner going by whoever copes best in the warmups. And Harris is surely a dead cert to start if he makes it on to that boat.

  • Mariam on April 12, 2013, 1:15 GMT

    @hyclass like you I also think Khawaja will be one of our better bats in England but 1 batsman is not enough, all 6 need to fire and we need to get them some match practice before the first game in July. The final Champions Trophy squad will be 15, taken from the current secret 30. I believe a squad size of 15 is part of the rules of the tournament, that means some of our test stars won't be in the ODIs so give them practice in the longer format.