The Investec Ashes 2013

Rogers to use English expertise on ball

Daniel Brettig in Nottingham

July 7, 2013

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Chris Rogers shines the ball, Worcestershire v Australians, New Road, 2nd day, July 3, 2013
Chris Rogers is preparing for his task as ball-carer during Australia's bowling innings © Getty Images
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Chris Rogers' primary task for Australia during the Trent Bridge Test will be to remove the shine from the new ball when it is in the hands of England's bowlers. His secondary task will be to do precisely the opposite when the tourists are in the field.

As a vastly experienced cricketer in English climes, Rogers has been handed the task of looking after the Dukes ball when it is Australia's turn to use it. Typically fielding at mid-on or mid-off during the tour match against Worcestershire, Rogers soon had his creams marked with a rich red stain down his trousers.

Seldom a slips fielder in the tradition of top order batsmen, Rogers has commonly taken up a post alongside the bowler as captain of Middlesex, and will be doing the same at Nottingham. He has learned much about taking care of the ball from the swing bowler Tim Murtagh, among others, and is aware the right kind of polishing job could see a genie pop out at key moments for the visitors.

"The Dukes ball is a different beast to the Kookaburra, so I guess that is one of my roles," Rogers said as he anticipated adding to his only previous Test, against India in 2008. "If you're not in the slippers or in a catching position and you're at mid-off then that's a part of your job. So yeah I'll probably help out with that.

"Naturally some of the guys over here understand it very well and I have learnt a bit off them. If you can keep that ball moving in the air, it's going to be a lot easier for the bowlers. It's a big job."

Australia have long lagged behind England in their ability to get the ball swinging and then maintain its condition, either for conventional bend or reverse movement. The role of the ball-carer is considered so important by England that their captain Alastair Cook has been employed due to his famed inability to sweat.

Questions were raised about the legality of England's treatment of the ball during the Champions Trophy, resulting in a tweak of ICC playing conditions that will allow the umpires to change the ball if they suspect tampering. While the change does not come into effect until October, the duel to extract the most movement out of the ball will be closely monitored by officials.

In addition to his familiarity with the ball to be used in the series, Rogers is also well attuned to the vagaries of Trent Bridge, something Ed Cowan has also grown used to over the course of half a county season for Nottinghamshire.

"Traditionally it does a little bit early, but I've also found it to be quite a good batting wicket once you get in," Rogers said. "And with this [warm] weather, there's a good chance it's going to be pretty flat. We'll just have to see what happens, but I know it's going to be a challenge, not just the conditions but their bowlers as well. I know I'm going to have to be ready for it."

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

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Posted by   on (July 10, 2013, 3:43 GMT)

Rogers is the Australian Wasim Jaffer. the ideal australian team should have been this (hussey still can go on for another couple of years) - Rogers, Watson, Hodge, Katich, Clarke, Hussey, Haddin, Pattinson, Starc, Lyon, Siddle/ Harris. The one for the future should be - Watson, Hughes (he has to open, he can't play quality spin)/ Voges, Cowan, Khwaja, Clarke, warner, Steve smith, wade, Pattinson, Starc, Lyon/ Harris.

Posted by   on (July 9, 2013, 3:54 GMT)

Shane Warne got the support from Glenn Mcgrath, Gillespie, Kashprowicz and B. Lee etc., Graeme Swann is getting support from Anderson, Broad, Bresnan and Finn etc., to pick up more wickets. Do you guys think N. Lyon is getting such a support from pace battery? Pat Cummins is out for a while, Hilfy & Harris is missing, Johnson is inconsistent in tests. So there is no proper combo. Any bowler needs compliment from other ends too. Lyon did terrific job in India recently. Skipper & selector need to have faith at him.

Players like North, Katich, Hodge and David Hussey are good all rounders in test cricket. Shaun Marsh, M. Cosgrove, M. Klinger are also good batsmen. They need aggression to win. OZ needs good vice captain. And certainly Lehmann will bring that old winning culture back. Chuck the home work system or defensive approach away to get back to normal. Give respect to guys like North or Katich's experience. Bring in classy youngster than passing baggy green cap to all.

Posted by Benkl on (July 8, 2013, 4:26 GMT)

Bet Cowan will be #3....especially since he has local experience

Posted by HatsforBats on (July 8, 2013, 1:11 GMT)

@Big_Maxy_Walker, it makes me cringe to think that after 06/07 Australia could have fielded a combination of Rogers, Katich, Ponting, Hodge, MHussey, DHussey, Clarke. At one point Katich & North were the best spinners in the country and I would've been happy with North coming in at 7/8. We've been doing pretty well considering the string of CA failures...Hilditch, Neilsen, BBL, Arthur

Posted by popcorn on (July 7, 2013, 23:43 GMT)

At last, Chris Rogers is getting the attention he desrves - and not just for his opening the batting! Cheers!

Posted by dunger.bob on (July 7, 2013, 23:38 GMT)

It seems a sensible move to give the polishing job to the bloke with the most experience in the conditions. .. It's only a small thing but these small things have a way of adding up. The 1%'ers they call them down here. If it helps, it won't hurt but just make sure you keep everything nice and legal there Chris. Keep the ball-cops off our case please. ..

@Balaji Kumar : I agree with you about Lyon. In relative terms the guy has all of 5 minutes experience. Given time he could come good. He seems to be learning all the time. ... this might sound a bit strange, but I reckon one of Nathan's problems is that he is a little bit too light in the frame. Another 5-10 Kg in body mass would do his bowling the world of good I reckon. Why? .. well because I think he is a bit low in energy reserves and it affects his stamina (and his thinking) late in the day. .. just a bit more strength and stamina and he would be a much tougher opponent imo.

Posted by   on (July 7, 2013, 17:38 GMT)

I think a lot of people are being unfair to Lyon. He is a good bowler but not a Graeme Swann. Which is why, England won't prepare too many spinner friendly pitches for the Ashes because when the pitch starts to crumble, any spinner who has a decent action will be able to look dangerous. Swann has the pedigree of bowling well even on pitches without any assistance which is why he is such a class act. Lyon doesn't have those skills but he did bowl very well in India, a fact often overlooked by many of his detractors. I think he still has it in him to become a force, but it all comes down to the Australian selectors and Lehmann to instil confidence in him.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (July 7, 2013, 17:17 GMT)

@BradmanBestEver: Is this the same Lyon who was previously hailed 'best test spinner'?

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (July 7, 2013, 15:04 GMT)

Yep after Phil Jacques back went it should have been Katich and Rogers for the next few years. To think of the matches they could have won or saved with their experience and mature heads. Plus averages of 50. Mr Cowan are you still there?

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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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