The Investec Ashes 2013 June 20, 2013

'I think we're being a little bit undervalued' - Rogers


In the pubs and cafes of England at the present moment a somewhat mocking suggestion can be heard. It goes along the lines that unless Shikhar Dhawan somehow manages to procure an Australian passport in time for the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge, the high water mark of the summer will arrive on Sunday when Alastair Cook's side face India in the Champions Trophy final at Edgbaston.

Such a conclusion will dent the pride of Australia's Ashes tourists as they draw closer to the official start of their trek around the country for five Tests, but it will also strengthen the one notion that gives a fragmented and modestly performed team hope that better results lie ahead. Could English observers, after witnessing a sickly start to the tour by their visitors, be about to underestimate Australia? Chris Rogers, the 35-year-old opening batsman, reckons so.

"I think we're being a little bit undervalued in many respects," Rogers said on the deck of a barge in the Thames turned into a makeshift cricket pitch to drum up ticket sales for the 2013-14 Ashes in Australia. "We've got a very good side - I've played against all these guys in the Australian side and I know the amount of talent in the squad.

"I've no doubt we can prove a lot of people wrong - if all of us play well together and find form we can shock a few people, no doubt. An Australian with his back to the wall is something to fear."

Rogers knows a thing or two about being undervalued. Ignored for years by the Australian selectors, his unobtrusive but unquestionably effective batsmanship has even been the subject of gentle ribbing from his state team-mates at home in Victoria. As the infinitely flashier and far less consistent Aaron Finch told the Age this week: "Nobody really knows how he does it because his technique is not great to look at."

Having waited so long for his chance, however, Rogers is determined that it will not be wasted, and does not bother whether his mode of batting is enjoyed by the aesthetes. As befits a man who has made more than 10,000 first-class runs on English soil, one of his great batting inspirations is watching Mark Ramprakash churn out a triple-century for Surrey against Northamptonshire, the first of Rogers' three counties.

"What stuck out for me was not the shots he played but the fact it just looked like we were never going to get him out," Rogers said. "That left a lasting impression on me - it wasn't that pleasurable at the time but amazing to watch - and I think that's important to be a top player and one who scores a lot of runs. Hopefully that's one of my strengths."

There is certainly plenty of recent evidence that Rogers has lost none of his ability to stick it out in the middle, having moved into the Australian team bubble after compiling 790 runs in eight matches as captain of Middlesex in division one.

"I've tried hard to put myself under pressure, knowing the intensity that's going to come at Trent Bridge is going to be huge," Rogers said. "So I think it's worked in my favour, and to have a few warm-up games has been good, especially scoring a few runs. I do enjoy playing over here, the conditions are a little more diverse and it helps with your game, so hopefully I've benefitted from it."

Should Rogers follow through on his promise to make this series count, the current idle pub talk about the English summer's high point will turn out to be just that.

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

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  • Chris on June 24, 2013, 1:33 GMT

    @Gautuam it has been a fair fall from grace for Australia however there are a few mistakes in your analysis. Ashes in Australia was 3-1 not 3-0. They belted India at home 4-0, drew 1-1 with South Africa away and could have easily won the home series if a whole day wasn't washed out in Brisbane and they werent a bowler short in the 2nd innings in Adelaide. Also beat Sri Lanka and the West Indies away. Funny how you seem to have forgotten all the series they won.

  • Dummy4 on June 23, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    @ maximum6 - you're right, teams with a handful of good players can still get smashed, but the example you give is poor. The England of the late 90's had to play an Aus team in which the batsmen all averaged very high 40's+ (some well over 50, including the no7) and the bowlers included McGrath and Warne. The current England side, good as they are, do not even come close to that standard. Australia will probably lose the series, but they are good enough to be competitive. New Zealand are not exactly packed with talent, but England had enough trouble with them over the past six tests.

  • Dummy4 on June 22, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    Undervalued? Aussies in recent times: Lost Ashes series in Australia- 3 innings losses, no wins. Lost series against SA at home without a single win. Whitewashed in India on pitches where Indian batsmen were making 600+ The only series win in between was against a struggling Sr Lankan outfit in Australia. The same sri Lanka that struggled to beat Bangladesh in a test series in Sri lanka. The name "Australia" used to command awe and fear of defeat when the team was great. But a team of Cowans and Hughes and Lyons is not going to be taken seriously even if it plays under the name "Australia" in the same uniform.

  • Michael on June 21, 2013, 14:58 GMT

    Rogers at least knows what is going on here so has a degree of realism in what he says which is much more down to earth than what Mickey Arthur says when hyperbolising the skills of his bowlers,though he too does not make pronouncement on the batting. It may be exaggeraiting when Beefy says England will 5-0 and 10-) over the two series, but I am sure we can scrape together 6/7-1 over the 2 series without leaving my realism zone. One has to look at 10/15 years ago to look at the hopes which precedes every series if you are underdog, and only in '97 and 98/9 did we seem to have a clue. You can go onto the field with 5 or 6 top players and still get hammered. The likes of Srewart, Atherton,Thorpe, Fraser, Gough, Hussein and Caddick were all good players, but we never had a sniff. How many players of that calibre do Australia possess? Clarke, Watson if he has some form, Haddin( questionable),Siddle? Pattinson? Maybe Beefy is not so far wrong after all.

  • James on June 21, 2013, 13:39 GMT

    Rogers has missed the boat, he should have played 3 or 4 years ago but selectors insisted on playing Huhges, Khwaja, Warner.

    England should win 3 or 4 nil.....I can't see where the aussies will score runs against Anderson, Broad and Finn. Also with mutiple lefties Swann will have a field day as they can't play spin. The aussie batsmen average 30, Clarke apart, the bowlers look strong but they tend to break down (Harris, Cummings, Starc).

    Ashes in Australia will be harder but England won 3-1 in 2010 and don't see aussies improving on the score much.

  • Trevor on June 21, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    Wake up and smell the coffee, son!

  • suresh on June 21, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    Perhaps I am wrong, but I do not see Michael Clarke as a great motivator. He certainly does lead by example, but , he is no motivator. The Aussies have lot of good bowlers and could pose a lot of problems for the English. Why isn't Adam Voges not in the team ?

  • Mashuq on June 21, 2013, 10:55 GMT

    Go show 'em Chris. 5 years ago I was one of your doubters (preferring Jaques), but I long ago became an avid fan! Got he hunger and temperament - just do it! Aus certainly needs a lot of things to go right to be truly competitive, but rather than bet on Hughes, Warner, etc. I'd go go for Chris to have a good series alongside some others who can chip in here and there.

  • Android on June 21, 2013, 10:55 GMT

    rogers is wrong here. first sl beat aus at tgeir home in t20 .before that sa beat them at home. then 4-0 india loss then winless in England. so this shows the quality is missing.still best bet for ashes is aus as they have better record than other team. go aus win b2b ashes.

  • Owen on June 21, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    Agree with Ant Podean, it is mostly the journalists who are coming up with this talk, and the disappointing thing is that if the Aussies win a few tests, draw the series or even narrowly lose then the same journalists will be pointing fingers at England claiming they were being complacent. I can't imagine any of the England team taking this series for granted, or underestimating the Aussies; there is talent in the Australian team, and if the management work out how to get that talent onto the park then it could be a close series.

    I can't wait though, the highlight of the cricketing calender and it's happening twice! I'm going with England 3-1 in UK, and 2-2 in Australia.

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