The Ashes 2013

Worth the wait for Chris Rogers

The opener was on verge of Victoria axe in 2012 but a phonecall from John Inverarity gave him hope and now he is on an Ashes tour

Daniel Brettig

April 24, 2013

Comments: 42 | Text size: A | A

Chris Rogers speaking after being called up by Australia, Lord's, April 24, 2013
Chris Rogers has the opportunity to add to his one previous Test appearance for Australia © Getty Images
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About a year ago, Chris Rogers sat on the Lord's balcony and pondered his future in Australia. More to the point, he pondered whether there was one. Told he was unlikely to gain a Victoria contract at the age of 34, Rogers began considering options in other states and even overseas: South Africa or New Zealand loomed as possible destinations to prolong his undersung first-class career.

Rogers had long given up serious thoughts of an Australia recall. His one Test, against India in January 2008, receded half a decade into the distance. Though prolific as ever for Middlesex, he was now contemplating the end of his days walking out to bat in his home country. As Rogers put it, "There's been such a strong push for youth for a period of time that I felt like I was being pushed out the back door a little bit."

But then a strange thing happened. He received word that the national selector John Inverarity, in England for Australia's ODI tour, wanted to talk to him. A phonecall and a meeting followed. Cricket in England was discussed, and Australia. Thoughts were shared on various players, numerous trends.

It was the first time Rogers had heard from a member of the national selection panel since the brief call five years ago telling him he would debut in Perth as an injury replacement. The conversation with Inverarity wasn't a call-up, or even the promise of one. But it was contact. For the first time in years, Rogers dared to hope again. Victoria soon came calling with a contract offer; pastures new could wait.

"The chat with John was one of the moments I think that made me pause," Rogers told ESPNcricinfo. "Particularly at that time, because I got told around then I was unlikely to get a contract for the Vics, so that made me stop and think that I still had something to offer.

"Then when my name wasn't really bandied about this year I started to wonder again, but when Invers named the Australian contracted squad but then mentioned my name, that was a moment I thought 'I am quite a chance here, I don't see why he'd mention me otherwise'. From then until now I've been pretty hopeful. I was starting to chew the nails a little bit but the phone call came through so it was very nice."

Rogers' hope, and another summer of unobtrusive, consistent run-making for the Bushrangers, has now reaped the sort of genuine opportunity he has sought ever since his Sheffield Shield debut: an Ashes tour. To win a place, all Rogers needs to do is continue following the sound fundamentals that have pushed him to 19,107 first-class runs at 50.01.

"I've been here for the last two Ashes series and it's taken the country by storm. To be a part of it is something I'll cherish forever" Chris Rogers

Save for Michael Clarke, no-one in the squad knows more about building a score, and even the captain would defer to Rogers' English experience, which amounts to more runs at a better average than England's vaunted leader and opening batsman Alastair Cook. This is not to say Rogers is coveting an opening spot. Having waited this long, he will bat anywhere.

"I got hinted that a part of the experience I bring is my knowledge of the conditions over here and players and those kinds of things," Rogers said. "It might help along the way, so it would be nice to be a part of that, have a bit of a voice and hopefully I can offer everyone something at different times. I'm sure quite a few of the guys have played a bit over here, but I've been lucky enough to play more than the rest. I don't think people understand that conditions in England are quite foreign to Australia.

"I'm not going to be turning down opportunities at this stage of my career, and the chance to play for Australia, I'd do anything. I'd like to be up the top, I think it fits me better, but I'd naturally bat anywhere and do a role the team asks me to do. I just have to wait and see how that all pans out."

An oddity of Rogers' selection is that despite being the oldest member of the squad, he has played the least international cricket - even James Faulkner, uncapped in Tests, has a collection of limited-overs appearances. "It's an interesting one," Rogers said. "In one respect I am bringing a lot of experience to the side but in another I haven't been on that stage, apart from one game, so it might take me a little bit of time to get used to the hype and the support and all those things that go with it."

It is no surprise, then, that something which enthuses Rogers about the Ashes is the chance to spend more than one crowded week around the Australian team. He has never toured before, never been 12th man, never witnessed the ebbs and flows of a full series. His one previous appearance was the convoluted match that followed the acrimonious, "Monkeygate" Sydney Test. Amid all the behind-the-scenes discussions that were had about Andrew Symonds, Harbhajan Singh and the team's triumphalist aggression at the SCG, Rogers could not recall even having a team meeting. This will be different.

Chris Rogers after being called up for the Ashes by Australia, Lord's, April 24, 2013
Rogers will bring a wealth of experience in English conditions to Australia's Ashes campaign © Getty Images

"I look back at it and it was just a bit of a whirlwind week," Rogers said. "I don't remember a lot about it, and it almost happened in the blink of an eye and then that was it. I've never been on an Australia tour or been around the squad for a period of time, so that's going to be nice, just to be a part of that and just take the opportunity to enjoy it rather than just be blown away by it all really."

Most of all though, there will be a sense of fulfilment. Rogers' every net session, every Shield or county match, every wandering commute from ground to ground, now feels more purposeful in retrospect. It has all been worth it.

"I guess as you get older, you know the end's near and you don't take anything for granted. As an Australian and the person I am, I tend to fight for everything I can get. Over this last period it's been a case where anything that comes my way, I try and take it.

"I look back and think there were moments when I got quite dispirited and had given up all hope, but it's such a relief to be a part of a squad that's going to be touring England. Just the determination to keep going and play well and enjoy my cricket has been rewarded. I've been here for the last two Ashes series and it's taken the country by storm … to be a part of it is something I'll cherish forever."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by zenboomerang on (April 29, 2013, 5:37 GMT)

Lots of rubbish about the ICC rankings: it ranks players over a 2-3 year window which get reset every August back to 2 years - aka the big change we see every year in the rankings...

So any player that hasn't played many matches in the current 32 month window will have reduced rankings - whether through prolonged injury or because of their recent promotion to international level...

The rankings at best are a rough guide with little reflection on current form - for me the best guide is how the team & players have performed in the last 18 mths & which players were absent through injury from said matches... That's about as close as you can get...

Posted by Greatest_Game on (April 28, 2013, 2:12 GMT)

@ Landl47. I read your post and took a look at the relevant figures, and to my surprise Cook's test average, 49.04, is HIGHER than his 1st Class ave, 48.13! 50% of his FC games have been tests, and they have pulled his FC average up. I looked at the test & FC averages of 11 top batsmen: Cook, Pietersen, , Sangakkara, Clarke, Jayawardene, M. Hussey, Amla, G. Smith, Kallis, Tendulkar, Ponting. (The last 2 I took their averages from 2010 as their has been subsequent decline.) Smith's Test average is .94 lower than his FC. Pietersen's test ave is .41 lower. All the rest have a higher test ave, ranging from Jayawardene's 0.02 to Sangakkara's 7.72! Yup, kumar has played 117 tests, 88 other FC games, & his test ave is 7.72 higher.

From my quick survey of top batsmen, tests seem only to improve their FC average! If the same holds true for Rogers, Aus might have 2 batsmen with 50+ averages! Even if Rogers' ave drops by 10 for tests, he'll still be doing better that the current openers!

Posted by popcorn on (April 27, 2013, 22:52 GMT)

Looks like Shane Watson's confusions are over. He is batting well at the IPL, but whether that transforms to centuries in the Ashes Tests is a question mark.We all know that a T20 player is not a good grafter. A T20 player is a 10 / 20 over batsman.Just a shade better than an ODI batsman. Oh for a dependable Ricky Ponting or Mike Hussey or Justin Langer or Mark Wark Waugh or a Michael Clarke! The Selectors SHOULD NOT SELECT Phil Hughes (the Englishmen's and Kiwi's bunny) or David Warner.Boith are undependable,flashy. I ALWAYS have my heart in my mouth when I watch these two playing Test cricket. A big hit or bust. NEVER CONSISTENT. David Warner has demonstrated how irresponsible he is - against South Africa at the WACA, and against India in one of the Tests. At a time, when we needed him to buckle down.That is why the Engine Room should be a dependable one - the top three who can make a HUGE Score. Earlier we had Mathew Hayden,Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting.Now Cowan,Rogers,Khawaja.

Posted by landl47 on (April 27, 2013, 6:48 GMT)

Rogers deserves his chance and I hope he does well, but overhyping him doesn't do him any favors. 'Rogers' English experience, which amounts to more runs at a better average than England's vaunted leader and opening batsman Alastair Cook'- yeah, right, except that Rogers has made all his runs against county attacks while Cook started playing tests at age 21, has never missed a test in 7 years and has played almost half his career 182 first-class games (and made more than half his first-class runs) in test cricket. India's Rahane has a first-class average of 60.75, but would anybody seriously compare him to Tendulkar, whose FC average is 'only' 57.86?

Give the guy a chance. If he plays well, then good for him, but he's so far had one test in his career and was unsuccessful in that. He's in the squad because Aus has hit a dry patch, not because he's a better batsman than Alastair Cook.

Posted by   on (April 27, 2013, 3:01 GMT)

Another left hander!!. Has been tried and failed. Ridiculous selection. Get some right handed batsmen in the team!!

Posted by popcorn on (April 26, 2013, 14:38 GMT)

This is a superb selection.The right balance. My line up in batting order woud be: Rogers,Cowan,Khawaja, (or Khawaja,Cowan,Rogers),Watson,Clarke,Haddin,Wade as batsman,Siddle,Harris,Pattinson or Bird,Lyon.Warner and Hughes are flashy players, are irresponsible,flashy,and don't know what it is to give the Team a solid foundation.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (April 26, 2013, 4:39 GMT)

@ Meety. You are dead right! Warner "certainly didn't look to shabby when he sent Steyn & Kallis hobbling off into the pavillion @ Adelaide Oval last year!"

But yes yes yes - he looked really shabby in Brisbane, c Kallis b Steyn for 4 off 15. In Perth, inns 1, Steyn again dismissed shabby Warner for just 13. Warner's 2nd inngs 29 was quick & shabby. And yes yes yes - Aus lost!

Adelaide - 1 good innings in a shabby Warner series. Clarke, Amla, Kallis, Hussey, de Villiers, Smith & COWAN all scored more, at better averages.

WARNER: 51.2 balls/inngs. 100s - 1. 50s - 0. Under 30 - 3 (60%) Out in 15 balls - 1 (20%). Caught EVERY TIME.

COWAN: 97.2 balls/inngs. 100s - 1. 50s - 1. Under 30 - 3 (60%) Out in 15 balls - 1 (20%). Run out, bowled, 3 caught.

Yes yes yes. Cowan scored more, faced double the deliveries & defended the middle order. Boring perhaps, but true. Now & "back then," Warner is no opener!

Yes yes yes - you can fool yourself. No no no - you can't fool the numbers.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (April 26, 2013, 0:50 GMT)

@ Mitty2. You wrote "We need a settled opening partnership if anything - and these two are statistically the worlds best." Which 2 are you referring to?

Posted by Meety on (April 26, 2013, 0:43 GMT)

@Greatest_Game on (April 25, 2013, 19:08 GMT) - yes, yes, you have banged on about this for ages now, it is as boring now as it was back then. He certainly didn't look to shabby when he sent Steyn & Kallis hobbling off into the pavillion @ Adelaide Oval last year!

Posted by Greatest_Game on (April 25, 2013, 19:08 GMT)

A lifelong fan, I closely follow test cricket. I don't understand Warner's automatic selection as opener. He is talented but unreliable. An opener takes the shine off, blunts/sees off the attack, ticks over the scorecard & PROTECTS THE MIDDLE. An attacking opener can dominate, but a Dravid/Ponting/Amla must be waiting, & Oz's rotating #3 is it's soft underbelly.

Cowan & Warner's "Opener's Stats" are illuminating!

WARNER. Inngs 34. BALLS FACED 1808 - ave 53 per. Scores: Centuries 3. Fifties 7. UNDER 30 - 21 (62%) Dismissed within 15 balls faced - 10 (30%) Dismissals: 2 not-out, 4 bowled, 4 lbw, 24 CAUGHT!

COWAN.: Inngs 30. BALLS FACED 2381 - ave 79 per. Scores: Centuries 1. Fifties 6. UNDER 30 - 16 (53%) Dismissed within 15 balls faced - 4 (13%) Dismissals: 1 stumped, 2 run-out, 4 bowled, 11 lbw, 12 caught.

Warner is unreliable; Cowan does a decent job, & Hughes' figs are similar; Watson outperforms them when opening. Next to Rogers, they seem minnows. Its a tough choice!

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (April 25, 2013, 9:32 GMT)

@Flemingmitch well said mate, hard to make judgements on a guy who hasn't had his chance this season. Also agree wth your comments on Harris.

Posted by KhanMitch on (April 25, 2013, 9:20 GMT)

RajeshNaik Khawaja needs half the games only that other younger players have had and he can be star for us. He has been on the bench since December so hard to make judgements on him. I also like the ay Harris plays he has alot of energy enthusiasm and self belef a proven wicket tacker. Harris and Bird ,my first to picked seamers n any surface, siddle will be first picked but id play patto and starc over siddle in swinging and seaming conditins, dont get me wrong i like siddle he plays with passion and gives his all ,e intresting to see if rogers pays the first test,

Posted by RandyOZ on (April 25, 2013, 9:00 GMT)

Good on him, as the article says he is far ahead of the likes of Cook and Bell in terms of class.

Posted by Naresh28 on (April 25, 2013, 8:25 GMT)

The name Hussey keeps coming up. Michael Hussey. He is retired but could make the squad if asked to come back. He is a brillant, experienced player - he still plays the IPL and it makes us say wow. As old as he is could make great contribution to Oz ashes challenge. the only 40 year playing today with scores still been racked up.

Posted by   on (April 25, 2013, 6:51 GMT)

Good luck to Rogers. So glad he was picked. It would have been criminal if he hadn't. Of course, it will be even more criminal if he doesn't get to play!

I still feel for Katich (as I do for Hodge). Katich's stability and consistency has been sorely missed by the Australian test team. While it's important to seed new players and rebuild the team, Michael Hussey showed that performance, not age, is the most pivotal factor.

Although Michael Hussey's retirement took all by surprise, Australia's succession planning has nonetheless been a mess.

Posted by Beales on (April 25, 2013, 5:47 GMT)

Very happy to see Rogers and Faulkner in the squad and Bird back from injury. Hoping Rogers plays, plays well, and earns a good few years in the team. I reckon the selectors will probably go with the left column (unless folks on the right do something impressive in the warm up games). Silk and Sayers will be watched closely in the Australia A series too.

Warner Cowan Hughes Rogers Clarke Watson/Kawajah Haddin/Wade Starc/Faulkner Siddle/Harris Lyon Bird/Pattinson (close call)

Posted by   on (April 25, 2013, 5:45 GMT)

When Rogers name was considered, I hoped he would get in. I fancy cricketers who were unlucky. Katich (Himself unlucky) was fortunate to take the place of Jaques, Rogers, Hodge all of whom did not get successive matches. Katich in turn got injured and must now consider himself unlucky to have retired or pushed out by Gilbert of NSW. Katich was captaincy material and Ponting and Clarke looked over their shoulders at him. Some are unlucky to be in the wrong place at wrong time. I still remember the bad decision Rogers got and that may have been a cause for him not playing for 5 years. Katich grabbed his chance when Hayden(I think) got injured in a tour, He has also been dropped hastily. At 35 Rogers gets a second life and others too should seek comfort never to give up. In passing I am a Srilankan Aussie and more interested in SriLanka but happy to follow the unfortunates especially in NSW . I feel for D. Hussey, Shaun M , Ranjan Rodrigo

Posted by   on (April 25, 2013, 3:47 GMT)

congratulations chriss rogers . when theashes tour is over and being a west aussie boy will you come back to wa we need you .

Posted by Sir_Francis on (April 25, 2013, 3:43 GMT)

With this selection panel he may not even play. Sounds like he's an "advisor" They should have picked D. Hussey too. He's even more successful than Rogers over the years.

Posted by Mitty2 on (April 25, 2013, 3:26 GMT)

@barnesy444 4 jaques is playing in the county; not sure what team but he's still playing. But yes he has retired from playing for NSW and playing internationally. Also, I think Rogers is said to be batting at three, in which I think is the best choice. We need a settled opening partnership if anything - and these two are statistically the worlds best. With Rogers being 3, I'd put Hughes 4 and khawaja 6.

But most of all well done chris!! A truly great story; at 35 and being ignored for so long, yet he persisted and finally got that deserved selection. It was so obvious that we needed experience in India and hopefully Rogers can bring this in England!

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (April 25, 2013, 2:46 GMT)

Lucky Rogers didn't retire. If Hodge hadn't retired then he might have been the one to fill the middle order gap. Despite this Rogers should bat in the middle order, he is experienced enough to be a straight replacement for Hussey. Hussey used to be an opener himself. As for Phil Jacques, he stuffed his back at the wrong time after beginning a promising test career and he isn't even playing FC cricket any longer.

Posted by Mary_786 on (April 25, 2013, 1:51 GMT)

I am happy we learned from the India experience. Rogers and Khawaja are good additions to the current batting lineup with one providing experience and the other fullfilling on his talent provided he gets a descent hit which i am sure he will. No doubt pace is our strength but our batsman will have to support Clarke if we are a chance to win.

Posted by RajeshNaik on (April 25, 2013, 1:31 GMT)

Rogers was not given a fair trial at all. One test match. 2 innings. Off which, one was a bad lbw decision from the umpire. Deserved more chances. Atleast it is better late than never. Hope he does well. Australian selectors, probably taking a lead from the trend in India, started investing too much on youth. Players like Shaun Marsh, Philip Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Mathew Wade are all very naive and still not ready for International cricket. When even an experienced campaigner like Ed Cowan, is taking some time to adjust to international cricket what chance does these novices stand? Good on Rogers. Good luck to him.

Posted by Chris_P on (April 24, 2013, 22:50 GMT)

@Devadeep Dutta Jaques has retired from Internatioal cricket & NSW to play county cricket due to a series of back injuries. Too bad, as he was one guy who would have proved invaluable.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (April 24, 2013, 22:48 GMT)

Bowlers here have been taken for too many by Rogers for him not to have been noticed by the selectors in Australia.

Posted by Beertjie on (April 24, 2013, 22:47 GMT)

Just a great story. When the selectors had to pick between Jaques and Rogers all those years ago they plumped for Jaques and I was happy for Phil. Little did anyone know how injury was to stymie his promising career. How differently it might have panned out had Rogers been preferred! Oh sure, like everyone he had his fair share of injuries too. Holding thumbs for you now mate - go get ' em!

Posted by ygkd on (April 24, 2013, 22:16 GMT)

I wouldn't get too excited just yet. Khawaja was picked on the Indian tour and never played a Test! Rogers, though, will surely play, won't he? He's easily the second best bat in the squad. So, well done to him for his hard work and to the selectors for having the courage to change direction, but making a touring squad and actually getting a real go are two different things. And then there's always the threat of injury! He'll be waiting to see his name in the first Test XII. As it should be.

Posted by Chris_P on (April 24, 2013, 20:57 GMT)

Andrew Hilditch, are you reading this? That is how you head selectors. A belated call, but thoroughly deserved. Doesn't possess the greatest of talent, but works really hard on what he has. Give me the hard workers ahead of the flashy lazy players any day.

Posted by   on (April 24, 2013, 17:44 GMT)

good on him. Testament to his hard work and dedication through the years.

Posted by   on (April 24, 2013, 17:38 GMT)

Whatever happened to Phil Jaques? Why was he too not considered?

Posted by Nutcutlet on (April 24, 2013, 16:14 GMT)

Sanity prevails at last! Chris Rogers' selection been a no-brainer since Michael Hussey retired & he should most certainly have gone to India where Oz lacked batsmen who could last for more than an hour or so. Anyway, here he is & I'll be very surprised if he doesn't make a healthy contribution to the team's score on a few occasions. He is in Australia's best Test XI on merit & I always want both England & Australia to be at full strength for the Ashes. Should he open? Well, who else in the side knows how to counter the new & moving ball in England better? It should be obvious: another no-brainer, but my brain (such as it is) is not the one that matters! I wish him well - he's a fine batsman.

Posted by mautan on (April 24, 2013, 15:29 GMT)

Very happy for you is such a heartwarming tale when someone who so badly wants to be part of something, deserves it as well...and finally gets it. There are a lot of players who get there opportunities without really deserving it, and then there are some like Chris Rogers, who deserved it 5 times over. Feel sad for David Hussey though...he has failed at the worng time. With a 50+ avg, he was way better than the Maxwells, Smiths, Hughes or Khwaja's. Atleast he got decent amout of time with Australian limited overs squads.. Hope Chris Rogers takes teh opportunity for atleast 3 years..Kallis is 39, Sachin 40..age is just a number.

Posted by I-Like-Cricket on (April 24, 2013, 15:25 GMT)

It's about bloody time. Good luck mate, Brad Hodge would be jealous ;).

Posted by Dr.Scott on (April 24, 2013, 15:10 GMT)

Chris Rogers averaged slightly under 50 with 3 centuries in the last Shield season. David Hussey averaged 24 with 1 century. Hussey has a great record, but had a very poor season. A pity because there was a place for him if he had been in good form.

Posted by handyandy on (April 24, 2013, 15:09 GMT)

At 35 he still has a career in front of him.

Given the quality of Australia's young batsman coming through he could have 4 or 5 years in front of him.

Posted by Harves44 on (April 24, 2013, 14:58 GMT)

Pleased to see Rogers picked, horses for courses or not, surely he would of been better off touring India though. Fascinated to see whether he will play the first test alongside Haddin now he's been selected

Posted by first_slip on (April 24, 2013, 14:40 GMT)

Finally, He got Deserved break, Hope he will do well and make couple of big hundrads against pomes, and he has good 3 years of test cricket in him, good luck Chris, and cant wait to see you in Baggy Green again. so happy for you

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (April 24, 2013, 14:37 GMT)

Thank goodness that we finally have a quality batsman being picked - regardless of age. I have to wonder why David Hussey is still on the outer though, especially given the retirement of his older brother Michael.

Posted by Batmanindallas on (April 24, 2013, 14:07 GMT)

When the Aussies were running after Kwajas and Hughes they should have tried out Rogers and Hodges. Hodges is another player who is unlucky having been born in a time when Aussies had lot of talent. I still think someone like him can make it count more than Hughes or other young ones...

Posted by Gazooligan on (April 24, 2013, 13:54 GMT)

Good for you young fella, and quite possibly not so good for the English bowlers. Take this belated opportunity and make your mark, and put a smile on the collective Aussie dial!

Posted by Gordo85 on (April 24, 2013, 13:53 GMT)

Well done Chris !! I am so pleased to see you finally have a chance to play your second Test. To me after you played your first Test you were very hard done by, thanks to selectors. When I listen to South Africa games on radio they often couldn't understand why Chris Rogers wasn't playing more Test matches and they thought he would have in any other country.

Posted by dean67 on (April 24, 2013, 13:35 GMT)

A great selection - just 3 years later than it should have been.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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