Tag: Chris Rogers

Chris Rogers in the 21st Century

Unparalleled class plus Chris Rogers in the foreground

There is a famous oak tree in the middle of a field near Bakewell in Derbyshire. It is weathered and gnarled and its enormous branches reach halfway to the road. Some say it is lucky. Some say it is cursed. The only thing that is known about it for certain is that it was planted there by Chris Rogers during his first season of county cricket, many, many years ago, back when he was in his thirties.

We think we read somewhere this week that Shaun Marsh has only played one first-class innings in England. This is who could be playing, but instead Australia went for Rogers, who has played about a billion. Being as the English season is longer than the Australian one, we wouldn’t actually be all that surprised to learn that he had played more cricket over here than in his home country.

Chris Rogers’ nickname is Buck. Buck Rogers is a World War I veteran who remains in suspended animation until the 25th Century. When he awakes, he’s surprisingly able-bodied considering he’s technically 521 years old. Both a namesake and a role model, you suspect.

Steve Smith also made a hundred today.


Middlesex are slightly top

After whipping the first division’s whipping boys, Northamptonshire, with their whipping boy whipping whip, Middlesex are now 19 points ahead of Yorkshire and 22 ahead of Sussex, both of whom have a game in hand. Yorkshire would need to win to go top. Sussex would need to really, really handsomely win to do so.

Yorkshire’s next match is against Lancashire, so all they really need to do is bat competently and the rest should take care of itself. Sussex’s next match is against Middlesex, so they won’t go top, but nor will they lose that game in hand.

A lot of Middlesex’s success thus far has been built on the work done by their openers. This is great news for England, in that Sam Robson is averaging about 50. However, it’s bad news for England, in that his opening partner, Chris Rogers, is averaging almost 50 per cent more and scoring almost 50 per cent quicker as well. Rogers even treated himself to a six at one point.


Cut by the thunder

That’s a quote from Chris Rogers which appeared in this week’s Cricket Badger. We’re hereby forewarning you that this phrase is to become an official part of the King Cricket vernacular.

It comes about from Rogers being deemed surplus to requirements by The Sydney Thunder, a Big Bash team. He was therefore ‘cut’ from the squad. At the time of writing, the Thunder had lost 18 matches on the bounce, so if you’re cut by the Thunder, your performances must have really tailed off.

There’s your meaning. You want an example?

“The England cricket team was really cut by the thunder during the Ashes.”

It’s about time we gave the world an idiom.


Chris Rogers is pretty good at edging it

One day we might use a different Chris Rogers picture - but not yet

That sounds like a backhanded compliment, but as a right-hander who bats left-handed, Rogers shouldn’t see backhand as being necessarily inferior.

Edges

We’re not sure we’ve ever seen a batsman miss and edge the ball quite as much as Chris Rogers did today. It was unreal. You can take it one of two ways. You can say he had more than his fair share of luck or you can acknowledge that it was damn difficult to bat and be impressed at how he did absolutely everything in his power to score some runs.

Some things are simply out of your control, but everything he could control, he did right. Every single thing.

Edgy

Okay, he got a bit skittish when he got near three figures, but you should allow him that. If you heard him interviewed afterwards, you’ll have some idea how he must have been feeling. It’s been an uncommonly long wait for a first Test hundred and at 35, there’s always a chance that any opportunity might be your last.

In the rest of the innings, Rogers did two things particularly well – both of which can be characterised as making the best of things. Making the best of things isn’t something people upload to YouTube, but it’s a key component of Test match batting.

Gaining an edge

Firstly, he edged the ball well. When he played, he played late and softly and often the ball didn’t carry. In conditions where there’s a decent chance you’re going to edge a few, that’s as much as you can do.

Secondly, he didn’t give a toss when he had edged it. Next ball, he’d take a single or maybe he’d miss again, but whatever happened, he wasn’t making mistakes. It wasn’t his fault the ball was going sideways for half the day.

Contrast this with some of Australia’s younger batsmen. They edge one, burst into tears and then slap the next delivery straight to mid-on. Not Chris Rogers. Once again, he did the hard bit and today it was particularly hard. It just goes to show that he didn’t deserve to end up as a one Test wonder.


Chris Rogers – one Test wonder?

Maybe not. One of first-class cricket’s finest batsmen may yet get an opportunity to play a second Test having been selected in Australia’s Ashes squad. It just goes to show, if you hang around long enough, the failings of the next generation will eventually earn you the recognition you sort of deserve.

15 years of experience

You wouldn’t say Rogers has been picked at his peak, but he’s still good enough in English conditions to have topped Middlesex’s batting averages last year (if you ignore Andrew Strauss because he only made 277 runs). Also, being as he’s here already, he’s got plenty of time to get his eye in.

What else?

He won’t be the only one with an opportunity to get his eye in. Modern Test tours are short, but there seems to be recognition that the players need more time to acclimatise as seven of the Test squad will arrive early with the Australia A team.

Who else?

There has been a cull. Batsmen picked for their bowling and bowlers picked for their batting are out. Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques and Steve Smith are all dropped, as is Xavier Doherty. Even if they hadn’t been replaced, the squad would be stronger. They were basically just diluting the previous Australia squad and distracting people. Brad Haddin’s gnarl-dog face has also been brought back, because it looks the part.

Conclusions

This may be the least terrifying Australia Ashes squad in years, but at least there’s some clarity about it. That wasn’t the case in India, where the selectors seemed to be hysterically hedging and hoping. It’s also a good move to have plenty of players over in the UK for a prolonged period before the first Test.

We tend to think there’s a tendency to fill in the unknowns rather generously when it comes to Australia’s younger bowlers, but that doesn’t mean we think they’re outright bad and they’ll have more impact in England than in India. As long as you have bowlers, you are always in with a shout.


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