The Investec Ashes 2015 July 22, 2015

Warner and Rogers: the feud that isn't

Chris Rogers and David Warner are very different types but the assumption that they don't get on has become one of the myths of the Ashes series

Contrary to what you may have heard, no-one in the Australian team has a better appreciation of Chris Rogers' value than his opening partner David Warner.

As many at Lord's and around England mulled over rumours that Warner and Rogers are perennially feuding, the younger man actually walked down the wicket and told his more seasoned partner these words: "Mate, you can't leave me."

While arriving at the time of their 100 partnership in the second innings, it was a strong acknowledgement from Warner of the role Rogers has played in his success. Anyone believing the pair have little time for one another need only look at the way Warner has been trying to re-shape his game for English conditions, having observed how Rogers goes about it.

They can also look at the concern Warner has felt for Rogers as he undergoes further tests to determine the nature of the dizzy spells he suffered during the latter part of the Test. While Warner joked about his partner's loss of balance early on the fourth day of the Test, he knows how much the team will suffer if Rogers is not passed fit in time for the next match in Birmingham.

"Chris said to me the grandstand is moving and I said 'no it's not'. I was worried, I had no idea what was going on"

"I came down the wicket and I had to look twice because I didn't really know what was going on and with all the talk of him and me not getting along I thought it was just him not wanting to come and talk to me," Warner said. "I just let him go for a little bit.

"He actually said to me the grandstand is moving and I said 'no it's not'. I was worried, I had no idea what was going on and so was he, he said I don't know what's happening here so I said just sit down. He went off for some scans and I don't know what they said but I saw him the other night and he said he was ok."

There is no question about the fact that Warner and Rogers are different characters. And it is also true that a few of Warner's rougher edges have grated on other members of the team at times over his tempestuous but highly successful four years in the Test team. But the view expressed by Ravi Shastri that "all cricket teams have players in it who don't talk to each other and this is clearly an example of that" is wide of the mark.

"It's quite funny, obviously in Australia we talk about yin and yang, two different people as in he reads a lot of books, I wouldn't read a book, he is on his Kindle but I'm on my iPhone looking at news," Warner said. "But it is totally blown out of proportion, I have no idea where it has come from, but it doesn't help when your mates like Brad Haddin stir the porridge a little bit and tell people we actually don't like each other.

"We get along very well, everyone in the group knows that we always … everyone gives each other banter and for some reasons we get picked on. When we put on the hundred partnership in the second innings I came down the wicket and shook his hand and said 'mate you can't leave me'. He just laughed. He is playing with freedom, he is playing with a clear mind.

"I don't know what he said in the papers about his career afterwards but he is on a mission to score as many runs as he can and that's the positive attitude he brings to the table with his experience. He is in a great frame of mind at the moment. He said the other day he is playing his best to date for Australia. I would love to see him go on but he will know when it is time."

Rogers' success so far in this series - he is shaded only by Steve Smith in the aggregates - has only encouraged Warner to look for a different method by which to score runs. It is something he hinted at doing during the West Indies tour, and while some criticised his approach in Cardiff as untypical, he is determined to emulate Rogers' more reliable methods on pitches that offer more lateral movement than Australia.

"I can't cover drive a swinging ball off a good length against Jimmy so it's quite hard to play your normal game, you've actually got to play a straight bat," Warner said. "That's the game here in England, the ball swings a lot, you've got play straight down the line.

"If the ball's in my area I'm definitely going to go after it, but I think here I have to let the ball come to me. I'm not finding it hard to score runs early, you just can't because they're bowling the ball in the right areas and that's the hardest thing. I look at Cardiff and I've looked over the footage from both my innings and there's no way I could have played it any different.

David Warner and Chris Rogers: happily running in different directions © AFP

"You can try and play a cover drive but the ball is moving way too far to try and hit it. I've got to keep backing my game and that's the intent I need to show - look to score but when you're looking to score you always have your defence there. I have to be as patient as I can and keep bringing the bowlers back. Last two innings and in Cardiff the last innings I think I have worked out what I have to do. I am not getting any freebies in the first spell that's for sure. It's all about hard work."

That hard work may eventually extend also to the way Warner tackles Moeen Ali, who has dismissed him three times out of four, yet is not a bowler who needs to be hit off his length in quite the same way as Graeme Swann once was. Warner will get his chance to score off Moeen, so does not need to go out chasing as he did to be dismissed on the first day at Lord's.

"I think the difference with Swanny was he was very consistent and always in the same areas," Warner said. "It's hard for you to score as a batsman, so you do have to try and change the patterns. With Moeen, I don't think we really have to go as hard against him.

"No disrespect to Moeen, but you will get that bad ball. Whereas Swanny was relentless and you never really got that bad ball, especially as a left-hander. The other day, coming out probably too hard and too aggressive was probably silly on my behalf."

Not as silly as thinking Warner and Rogers cannot work together. The more pertinent question, as Rogers tries to shrug off his dizzy spells, is for how long they will continue to do so.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments