The Ashes 2013-14

Rogers fined, now ready to relax

Brydon Coverdale

January 9, 2014

Comments: 32 | Text size: A | A

Chris Rogers performs a quick dance routine for the crowd, Sydney, January 7, 2014
Chris Rogers impressed the fans with his dance moves in Sydney on Wednesday © Getty Images
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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

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Posted by Jagger 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.

Posted by Ragav999 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.

Posted by Greatest_Game 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.

Posted by   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

Posted by dunger.bob 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.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2014, 6:46 GMT)

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

Posted by Greatest_Game 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!

Posted by rienzied 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!!!

Posted by Digimont 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)

Posted by   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.

Posted by Chris_P on (January 9, 2014, 19:19 GMT)

@ izzidole . I think you are backing Rogers in your post, but a few things need clarification. Rogers has been excelling in Shield cricket for a number of years, you don't get a 50 average in FC cricket without excelling. He wasn't dropped after his first test, he was selected for a test as a fill-in for one of the openers, that is, he was always only going to play the one test. After his scored his century in Durham, I believe he was always going to play the home tests, how many would have been up to his performances, but most, if not all, who knew of his record down here had no doubt he would succeed as his technique is solid. He has consistently scored runs in Australia & has consistently scored runs against the English bowlers in their competition. He should have been selected on a permanent base a few years ago.

Posted by class9ryan on (January 9, 2014, 16:35 GMT)

I don't understand why the organizers have been that quiet, they should have found a way to make the Thunders competitive. But I like the frame of mind Chris Rogers is been in, who would have thought after 2008 that he could be removed of the elite " One Test Wonders" list. He deserves a break and I hope he continues to score which is so important for the brittle Australian top-order.

Posted by   on (January 9, 2014, 13:05 GMT)

Have loved his classic-Aussie-battler performances for Middlesex over the last few years. Made for seeing off good new ball bowlers and batting LNG innings.

Posted by Elbow on (January 9, 2014, 12:55 GMT)

Great honest response. "I got cut by the Thunder. If you get cut by the Thunder, you're probably struggling". He comes across a real trier and everyone loves a trier, may his success continue!

Posted by izzidole on (January 9, 2014, 12:40 GMT)

Rogers came into the side in the ashes series in England as a stop gap opening batsman for his experience playing county cricket in England for many years. He hardly excelled in state cricket back home in Australia and was never considered for selection as a test cricketer. Back in 2008 he represented Australia in a test match but was dropped from the side never to be selected again. I reckon if he didn't play in that test I am sure he would have qualified to play for England since they are always on the look out for overseas talent. After the ashes series in England his cricketing career was expected to end abruptly but thanks to the selectors who realized his potential and has now sealed his place as a permanent member of the side with some fine performances in the last ashes series. As long as the selectors don't start worrying about his age i am certain that he is good enough to last atleat untill the next ashes series in England in mid 2015.

Posted by   on (January 9, 2014, 12:31 GMT)

Rogers might have impressed the aussie crowd by showing his dance skills. I' ll bet he'll show more dance moves in SA pitches in a month time. only difference from now will be that SA pace trio will make him dance to their tunes. good luck rogers.

Posted by SirBobJones on (January 9, 2014, 12:18 GMT)

I've always liked Rogers, glad he's scoring well. People need to realise some batsmen get better with age, no need to automatically drop people approaching their mid-30's. I reckon North, Katich and even Hodge would still do better in our top six than any young guys.

Posted by   on (January 9, 2014, 11:34 GMT)

Good on him. Knows his strengths and weaknesses and plays well to them. Interestingly, I think it was Watson who said he adds so much to the side off the pitch too almost as a second batting coach. Not taking anything away from Rogers, but it would be interesting to know how Katich feels after being dropped as a 35 year old to make way for younger batsmen to eventually be replaced by a 36 year old?

Posted by Nutcutlet on (January 9, 2014, 10:16 GMT)

All I continue to hear about Chris Rogers makes me even more of a fan of him: my type of cricketer, a no-frills, no-wingeing, thorough-going pro from the old school. He shows a deep pride in playing excellent Test cricket for Australia, but his ego is well under control - that makes for the best model of a team player. He has richly earned his break away from the cauldron. And to think that he spent five years in the international wilderness! Astounding! So, may his career long continue at the highest level!

Posted by   on (January 9, 2014, 8:17 GMT)

I love this bloke. He is a real fighter, this one.

Posted by Meety on (January 9, 2014, 7:36 GMT)

"I got cut by the Thunder. If you get cut by the Thunder, you're probably struggling," That my friends, is the quote of the century! Top stuff mate! == == == @ all - jonesy2 will be very shocked because he knows that the greatest batsmen in world cricket are (in order) SMarsh, Rogers, Warner, Clarke, Smith, Bailey & Haddin & MJ. Then a distant 9th maybe Kallis (nah Lyons)!!!!!!!

Posted by dunger.bob on (January 9, 2014, 7:23 GMT)

"I got cut by the Thunder. If you get cut by the Thunder, you're probably struggling," .. Lol .. I don't know what the world record for consecutive losses by a T20 franchise is, but if it's worse than the Thunder's 18 (and still counting) then they must be a diabolical team.

It sounds like the management is trying to do the right thing by giving him some sort of long version cricket in the gap between now and South Africa. It's hard to see what else they could do since there is no 1st class stuff happening. .. Anyway, good luck Buck/Ginger. If you go well we go well I'd say.

Posted by AnyoneButVettel on (January 9, 2014, 7:21 GMT)

@jonesy2: My thoughts exactly. And even if they did get out, it'd be more by accident than Morkel's skill. I wrote about this to AB DeVilliers' blog years ago. Guess the saffers don't have a choice although they keep going on about de Lange and Abbott.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (January 9, 2014, 7:21 GMT)

@Jonesy2: No, he is a good bowler. In fact, his record suggests he bowls better against us than any other nation.

Posted by Vishnu27 on (January 9, 2014, 7:19 GMT)

kcr: I'm with jonesy2 on this one. A lot of Ishant Sharma about Morne Morkel from what I've seen (i.e. long time under achieving highly touted talent). He's never impressed me much.

Posted by disco_bob on (January 9, 2014, 6:25 GMT)

'Buck' seems obvious but 'Ginger' now that he's revealed he has a few moves and being a ginger as well, looks like it might stick.

Posted by kcr_ on (January 9, 2014, 6:25 GMT)

@jonesy - beter get ready to be shocked often then..

Posted by   on (January 9, 2014, 6:19 GMT)

Morne Morkel is a very integrsl part of the SA attack. Many a batsman have claimed he is the one they least like facing. He doesnt get as many wickets but builds pressure and pushes batsmen back with pace and bounce. When steyn and vern come on they bowl fuller and the batsmen are caught on the crease. Thats how a world class attack works.

Posted by AlSmug on (January 9, 2014, 6:08 GMT)

I am deli ted with the selection of Rogers, in recent time the biggest issue i feel with tem selection has ignored the seasoned campaigners tha have runs on the board. I believe its important to have one eye on the future but with the depth of Australian bowling stocks the place for the younger brigage is in shield cricket if the more matured payers are performing Common sense also needs to be adopted in picking sides , players with techniques like Hughes need to be overlooked , he has had more chances than Warnie has sent texts. Hughes needs to work on his technique and tightening of the mind, if the likes of Klinger perform in the back end of the shield they should still be considered for future positions should they arise

Posted by jonesy2 on (January 9, 2014, 5:36 GMT)

can we stop mentioning morne morkel is the same sentence as steyn please? its just so cringeworthy. if as Australian top order player gets out to morkel in the upcoming series I will be shocked.

Posted by Chris_P on (January 9, 2014, 5:25 GMT)

Buck, stay away from it, you are a dead-set legend. Really happy you finally got given a go. I hope the young batsmen out there saw how it is done in the real game.

Posted by Sachit1979 on (January 9, 2014, 5:21 GMT)

Chris Rogers has tons of talent that Australia ignored for years and years. Now he got his well deserved place in the side and difference is apparent. Had he been there in squad that traveled India and whitewashed, it could have been a different story. Likewise Rogers, I feel sorry for Brad Hodge also. Not sure why he was ignored too. Anyways better late than ever for Rogers. Good luck to him for SA tour. I am sure he would relevant answers to questions asked trio of Steyn, Morkel and Philander.

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Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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