The Ashes 2013-14 January 9, 2014

Rogers fined, now ready to relax


There was no Fred Astaire but a certain ginger Rogers kept the crowd entertained with some sharp dance moves at Australia's Ashes celebrations in Sydney on Wednesday. But while Chris Rogers might have become an unlikely cult figure with his fleet feet, his late arrival at the public reception did not go unnoticed by the coach Darren Lehmann, who has brought a sense of fun to the squad while ensuring they are aware of their responsibilities.

"He has given me a bit of a slap on the wrist," Rogers said in Melbourne on Thursday. "If you do the crime you've got to do the time and fair enough, I do apologise for being late. Fantastic for so many people to turn up so it probably wasn't the best, and that's why I probably had to get up on the dance-floor ... [The punishment was] just a fine. We're keeping it in-house and I think that's the way to go."

Few members of Australia's squad had more reason to celebrate the 5-0 clean sweep than Rogers, who 18 months ago was a one-Test wonder on the verge of losing his state contract. At 36, he is now an Ashes winner, the No.12 Test batsman in the world according to the ICC rankings, and David Warner's opening partner for the foreseeable future.

In the short term, that means next month's Test tour to South Africa, a country that Rogers has never so much as visited let alone played in. But the timing of the tour creates a dilemma for the Victoria batsman, who will be parachuted into the South Australian second XI for a match in Sydney later this month purely so he will have some sort of cricket behind him when he flies to South Africa.

Rogers is the only member of Australia's Test team who is part of neither the ODI squad to take on England nor a Big Bash League outfit, leaving him to spend January relaxing. Last summer, Rogers played for the Sydney Thunder, who on Wednesday recorded their 18th consecutive loss, but his style of play was insufficient to attract any BBL offers this season.

"I got cut by the Thunder. If you get cut by the Thunder, you're probably struggling," Rogers said with a wry smile. "I guess I wanted to take this time off anyway, but Twenty20 - I don't know how people do it, to be honest. I'm probably best watching it on TV.

"I don't think the Vics [second XI] have got a game so Pat Howard and Darren Lehmann are just making sure there's a few of us who get cricket, for the right reasons. I look forward to that, and getting to know a few new team-mates."

Rogers will at least fly to South Africa with strong recent Test form behind him. Not only did he score centuries in the final two Ashes Tests in Melbourne and Sydney - he described the SCG innings as "as well as I have ever played" - he finished the summer as the leading scorer from either team across the ten home-and-away Ashes Tests over the past six months.

"Peter Siddle told me that at the end of day two in Sydney and I couldn't believe it," Rogers said. "With the amount of quality there is in both sides in the batting order, to be on top was an exceptional achievement, something I'm really proud of.

"I keep surprising myself I think. I keep thinking the body is going to fall away but it's still going okay and this is the cream on my career. I'm enjoying every moment and don't want to give it up just yet."

Rogers knows that facing Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander in their home conditions will be a very different task, but he is equally aware that if he succeeds against them he can hold his head high.

"I've faced a few of these guys before and I know they're as good as anyone in the world," Rogers said. "It's another huge challenge. Facing Anderson and Broad has been something that has been so enjoyable. Hopefully I can do well and set the boys up well in the next series ... If I can do well against these guys then I can say I've done well against the best in the world."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Richard on January 11, 2014, 3:09 GMT

    Think back. Whom in their right mind would ever have predicted M Clarke to, by his own standards, put in a shocker, and not only that, but having to carry George Bailey along for the ride [as expected], yet Australia still win the series 5-nil? Who would have predicted the likes of Haddin and Johnson to ride roughshod over England's much vaunted pace attack when the Ashes were still in the balance?

    Nostradamus would never have considered being so bold.

    Furthermore, I suggest we are witnessing an epiphany: confirmation the changes made to Australia's pitches are paying dividends. Our emerging batsmen have been handed an apprenticeship only Jardine himself would have thought possible.

    Averages belie the fact Australian batsmen are class - just ask Cook, Bell and Pietersen. If the Saffers think our batsmen are going to roll over for their bowlers, they are in for one monumental surprise.

  • Ragavendran on January 10, 2014, 15:58 GMT

    @dunger.bob: There were no places for Mike Hussey and Hayden as brilliant as they were till Steve Waugh and Slater went out making room for them. But Rogers, Hodge , Gilchrist and Martyn could have been selected earlier.

  • David on January 10, 2014, 15:12 GMT

    Ya just gotta love stats. They don't lie. Right jonesy?

    Against Aus, Morkel, career ave 29.91 @ SR 56.5, has played 10 matches, 19 inngs, and he taken 37 wickets at Ave 34.5., SR 58.

    Peter Siddle, career ave 28.68 @ SR 58.6, has played EXACTLY the same number of matches & inngs against SA, 10 & 19. He has taken one more wicket than Morkel, at Ave 30.86, SR 70.

    There is really not much between them, is there, jonesy? Should all Saffas be shocked if Siddle takes a top order wicket? I will not be shocked - he's a good bowler! Like Morkel.

    Interestingly, Johnson & Steyn do not have significantly better records. Johnson, in 9 matches/17 inngs has 42 wickets, ave 29.97 @ SR 57.5. Steyn has done somewhat better, with 57 wickets in 21 inngs, ave 27.58 @ SR 46.

    Ryan Harris, in 2 inngs took 4 wickets, ave 25@ SR 36.7. The real performer has been Philander, 7 inngs with 18 wickets, ave 21.88 @ SR 43.3.

    Stats - always there to surprise you.

  • Dummy4 on January 10, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    look at Kelly Slater he is 43 this year and number 2 surfer in the world Antonio Tarver, Anthony Mundine, even Brad Fittler at 42 is making a comback, Brett Lee, Brad Hogg, goes to show you can still play sport at anelite level well into your 40s

  • rob on January 10, 2014, 7:05 GMT

    Nutcutlet : We have an exemplary record of keeping highly talented players in the closet for 5-6 years at a time. A few examples for you. Chris Rogers himself. Damien Martyn (he could have racked up 4k more runs than he did, each and every one of them gloriously crafted by a semi-genius). Adam Gilchrist didn't debut till he was nearly 29. Had been massacring domestic attacks for at least 4 years. (Healy was the incumbent, so understandable I guess). Exactly the same with Hayden. I remember a headline in Qld a good year before they finally picked him. "264, still knocking on the door". That 264 was made in little more than 3 sessions against a nearly full strength Windies tour match side back when they were still pretty good. Ambrose and Walsh were in the side I think. One final one. The (for me anyway) incomparable Mike Hussey. 10,000 Shield runs all made in that wonderful style of his and past 30.

    Our landscape is littered with examples of it. I've no idea why though. Not a clue.

  • Dummy4 on January 10, 2014, 6:46 GMT

    No need for Rdgers to waste his time playing that rubbish. Prepare for South Africa Tests instead.

  • David on January 10, 2014, 1:12 GMT

    @ jonesy2 who believes strongly that if an "Australian top order player gets out to morkel in the upcoming series I will be shocked."

    Well jonesy, mate, here is something that will cheer you up. A list of the Aussies Morkel has dismissed: MEK Hussey 8 times, Ponting 6 times, Clarke 3 times, Johnson, Katich, Hilfenhaus, Wade Quiney twice each, & Hughes, Hayden, Warner, Watson, Symons, Harris Hastings, once each.

    Based on that, I would think that in the upcoming series the statistical probability of Morkel dismissing an Australian top order batsman is somewhere around, oh, say, at least 100%.

    Get ready to be shocked. I wonder if you will be shocked into blissful silence? That would be a real treat!

  • rienzie on January 10, 2014, 1:06 GMT

    How he and Katich have been overlooked all these years ahead of Watto and Hughes is mind boggling. Jaques I understand had his injuries but surely the first 2 should have been in place and we have missed out so much. True Rogers lack of flambouyance never made him a pretty opener but as we see now he is one of the dependable rocks we could have aleviated our batting slump of the past few years with an over reliance on Clarke and Hussey. Look forward to a few more years to him being in that opening slot as the boring player to nullify the attacks with his immense concentration and limited strokes. How we need him!!!

  • David on January 9, 2014, 22:46 GMT

    @Sachit1979 - Chris himself would be the first to admit he would not have helped much in India. He has confessed to struggling against Swann (so would have struggled against Ashwin and any other right arm off spinner, especially on India's deliberately cultivated tracks)

  • Dummy4 on January 9, 2014, 20:01 GMT

    Rogers is the Twilight Zone mystery that shocked the Poms. He is an OK guy, after all he is an Aussie. Proud of him.

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