The Investec Ashes 2013 July 30, 2013

'I've been trying too hard' - Rogers


Shane Watson might not quite be in "Gooch lbw Alderman" territory just yet, but he has been trapped in front three times in this series and his initial lunge forward has left him with a higher percentage of lbw dismissals than any other batsman who has played more than 70 Test innings. His opening partner Chris Rogers has a slightly unusual take on the situation.

"At least it's one thing that he can work on," Rogers said. "I'm sure he has been working on that. If he can kind of prevent that from happening then it's going to make it hard for the English bowlers ... He wouldn't be normal if he didn't realise that it's the way they're targeting him."

Whether or not Watson's pad has a silver lining, it was at least one very specific area he could work on in London and Manchester over the past week, while most of the team was playing against Sussex. Rogers was with Watson, but with no such straightforward blueprint. How can working in the nets help a batsman avoid being lbw to a thigh-high full toss, or being bowled leaving an offbreak that just didn't turn?

"I think I've been doing some pretty good things and then just getting out," Rogers said. "And that's been the disappointing thing. I know I've got to be better and whether that's concentration or whatever. I've been thinking about it a lot, naturally, and hopefully I can be better for the next few matches."

In his return to the baggy green after playing a solitary Test against India in 2008, Rogers has made 16, 52, 15 and 6, and he needs a big innings to avoid being remembered as the man who was lbw to a Graeme Swann rank full toss. Rogers would have had that decision overturned in the first innings at Lord's had he asked for a review, but having failed to have an lbw reversed at Trent Bridge and seen Watson use up one review already, he was reluctant to use the DRS.

"It kind of went up and over the sight screen and I just lost it," Rogers said. "Kind of got surprised, thought it was a free hit, and unfortunately it hit me rather embarrassingly but I guess I just lost it and I don't really know what else to say there. It was hard to know where the ball was going because there was no normal reference points and in hindsight it would have been nice to challenge the lbw.

"My lbw in the first Test, where it's just clipping and I thought that was going down, it puts a little bit of doubt in your mind about what's going on. It only has to clip so when it all happened ... the other thing is it happened so quickly, emotion takes over a little bit and there were no real reference points so it was hard to know what to do, and particularly [because] it would have been the second review."

Rogers has watched the DRS develop from afar but this is the first series he has played with the system in place, and he said it was difficult to decide on the spur of the moment how to use the reviews. He said batsmen needed to be even more conscious than usual of getting bat on ball, because the technology appeared to have encouraged umpires to give more lbw calls.

"I think that DRS has changed a lot of people's understanding of what's going on," he said. "As a cricketer I've made a pretty poor umpire so far. This is the first time I've been involved with it. It's a bit of a learning process, and you have to learn quickly.

"Naturally, if you're an umpire seeing more balls hit the stumps, then it's probably swaying your opinion but I don't know, that's their job. It's the same for both sides and as a team we've got to try and use this review system better than we have. You've got to try and get hit on the pads less. I guess the other thing is playing spin, and getting hit on the front pad, has made it a bit different. You've got to use your bat more, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing."

Having spent their time in the nets to freshen up and get away from the spotlight, Rogers and Watson will resume their opening partnership at Old Trafford later this week. Surprisingly, Rogers is yet to play a first-class match at Old Trafford despite having played 119 first-class games in the UK; fate would have it that whenever he has signed for a county team, Lancashire have typically been in the other division.

But Rogers knows that his vast experience of domestic cricket in England has given him a sound base for Test matches, even if he is yet to transfer that form to the international arena. He said it was difficult to avoid putting extra pressure on himself given the attention that is placed on Test cricketers compared to state or county players.

"This side that we're playing against, the bowlers are very good," he said. "Then just the extra pressure that you almost put yourself under. I guess in some respects I've been trying too hard, just trying to work really hard and bogging myself down a bit.

"The pressures that go on with playing international cricket - everyone looking on, the big crowds, those things - that's what you have to deal with to be a good international player. I knew that before but it's still something you have to confront."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ian on July 31, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    I want Chris Rogers to succeed in the current Ashes' series - I really do. He has the class & the understanding of English conditions & bowling to make significant contributions at the top of the order. He is just the sort of batsman who's custom-built for TC. He plays straight; knows what it is to build a long innings; doesn't play expansively until well-set & is a good team man. Now consider his designated opening partner. Opening bats are a team-within-a-team & if there appears to be one player who has not shown himself to be a team man to date, that man is his fellow opener. Rogers has been given the short straw, just when he's hoping to resurrect his Test career. There 've been luckier cricketers than CR! I find it significant that Lehmann kept the two of them back in London with the captain. I'm sure that there is a great deal of relationship rebuilding going on, not just improving Watson's batting technique.Spending time together,clearing air. Let's hope some of it has worked.

  • Praveen on July 31, 2013, 6:23 GMT

    Chris, mate, you have to try before trying too hard. I'm amused by the press conference statements by these lads. You guys are 2 down, pull up your socks fellas. This is test cricket, it needs temperament. As a regular fixture in Middlesex, you should have scored at least a couple of fifties at Lord's(Home ground of Middlesex) .. Now that says all about you, if you belong at the International level. Why don't the Aussie selectors look at Ranji games and hire some players who are playing for Indian states. Just to stabilize things at top until they get a middle order ready for a few months.

  • Tom on July 31, 2013, 3:52 GMT

    Rogers has looked determined but the mental aberrations indicate a certain lack of composure. Perhaps similar to Compton, he wants it almost too much. Still you have to think he will grind out a few.

  • Dummy4 on July 31, 2013, 2:15 GMT

    I would drop one of the out-of-form batsman and get Agar in as a batsman. These are the things a captain should be looking at. Play Nathan Lyon as the lead spinner. And hopefully Jack Bird is available for the 3rd test and he will be a good replacement for Pattinson.

  • Dummy4 on July 31, 2013, 1:41 GMT

    I am concerned for our batting with the loss of one of our better batters in Pattinson. Hopefully Bird will step up to the plate

  • Android on July 31, 2013, 0:31 GMT

    Well all that hard work is paying off Rogers and Watson...oh wait...

    Drop Watson. He has failed for long enough and is a cancer on the side Warner will see it won.

  • Graham on July 30, 2013, 23:37 GMT

    milepost; YOu don't pick someone batting below 8 because they can handle a bat, you pick your best 4 bowlers the batting stats are not important with Swann, Warne and Agar.

  • Tom on July 30, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    @milepost Statistically, Agar has the worst average of anyone who has bowled 50 overs for Australia any time in the last 10 years.

  • Cameron on July 30, 2013, 19:29 GMT

    Rogers is a test batsman, he will be fine. Same with Khawaja. Agar hardly had his spot challenged for by Lyon and should be first pick for a long time. Statistically you guys would have dropped Warne and Swann already and Agar is already twice the batsman those guys were.

  • ZK on July 30, 2013, 16:49 GMT

    It's more of a disservice when fans don't get to see the full 90 overs in a day due to slow over rate than if they see a low run rate, in my opinion.

    In any case, refreshing to hear an Aussie player apparently grasping DRS, as Bucky certainly seems to, knowing he can't review if he thinks it's even clipping leg. Wonder if he's told Watson that.

    I wouldn't be too surprised if (injury problems allowing) Australia drop Rogers for the OT test merely based on the fact he's in the side as a horses for courses pick, to share his knowledge of the grounds, and he's never played at OT. Certainly wouldn't mind it from a Middlesex point of view if we were to have both him and Finn back for the Durham Championship match, and Australia could always use that as their chance to do what England do and send a player off to play a county game for some runs.