Christopher John Llewellyn Rogers
August 31, 1977, St George, Sydney, New South Wales
Left hand Bat
Life membership of the one-Test club seemed a certainty for Chris Rogers, especially when he came close to losing his Cricket Victoria contract in 2012 with the state keen to look to the future. Yet, by early 2014, he had not only added another dozen caps to the single Baggy Green awarded six years earlier but also played a full part in two Ashes series, including the 2013-14 whitewashing of England. Not bad for a 36-year-old and confirmation that, in cricket at least, "never say never" is a phrase worth remembering.
A prolific run-scorer at state and county level for 15 years, left-handed opener Rogers was the right man in the right place at the right time when Australia decided they needed a dollop of experience, rather than more youthful promise, for the 2013 Ashes series in England following the retirements of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey. Given his familiarity with English conditions - having played for four first-class counties - and his consistency at the top of Middlesex's order in recent times, picking "Buck" Rogers made perfect sense.
Despite losing the series, Australia laid good foundations for what was to follow just a few months later. Their 'new' opener added some much-needed resolve to the batting line-up - and at Chester-le-Street became the second-oldest man to score a maiden Test century for Australia, behind the 37-year-old Arthur Richardson in 1926. It was a fighting innings in difficult, seaming conditions and suggested that Rogers could play an important role for Australia for some time to come. By the time he made his 110 against England, Rogers had already scored 60 hundreds and 20,000 runs in first-class cricket but, until 2013, had always found himself behind others - like Phil Jaques, Simon Katich, Phillip Hughes and Shane Watson - in the Test opening queue.
No longer. If 2013 enabled Rogers to get his feet under the Test table, the Australian summer that followed saw him feasting hungrily on the treats now available to him. Not only did he score centuries in the final two Ashes Tests, in Melbourne and Sydney - he said the SCG innings was "as well as I have ever played" - but he also finished as the leading scorer from either team across the back-to-back Ashes series.
It was all a far cry from 2008 when Rogers, taking the place of an injured Matthew Hayden at the WACA, scored just 4 and 15 against India. At the end of that season, he left Western Australia (having been frustrated by a lack of one-day opportunities) for Victoria, where he continued his prolific domestic run-scoring.
Thoughtful, intelligent and setting high standards of himself, Rogers' professionalism increased through his extensive experience in England; a county regular since 2004, he has played for Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Middlesex and Someset, retiring from first-class cricket in 2016 after coming achingly close to leading Somerset to their first Championship title. County cricket also gave Rogers the chance to achieve the rare feat of scoring a double-century against his own country. Playing for Leicestershire in 2005, he opened the batting against the Australians and posted 56 and 219 despite chat from Hayden, who said he should get out to benefit the national team. In 2006-07, Rogers was handed a Cricket Australia contract after leading the domestic first-class run list with 1201 at 70.70 for Western Australia.
Although many a bowler might find it hard to believe, Rogers is short-sighted and colour blind, which means he sometimes struggles to focus on the red ball when it mixes with the background. But he possesses a fine cricketing pedigree: his father, John, represented New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield in the late 1960s and later became a respected administrator, ultimately assuming a post as general manager of the Western Australian Cricket Association. The son's future looked promising from the moment he was selected for the Australian Under-19 side in 1996. Nearly 20 years were to pass, though, before he truly fulfilled that potential and turned himself into an automatic selection for the Test team.
Batting & Fielding