Dogged, sluggish, unexotic and lumbering could be the adjectives which associate themselves to Chris Rogers knock at Chester-le-Street. Yet, in the context of the situation keywords like effective, potentially match-winning and telling probably assume a greater association to his contribution in the 1st innings of Australia’s batting. There were edges and misses, close shouts, moments of rub-of-green, awkward TV postures of batting and amid all that the scoreboard pressure in the change room was quietly subsided.
Day 2 of the Test offered overcast conditions, seam & swing, part-timers (too) creating an impression and every over a fresh test for survival. It was that kind of day and it needed that kind of batting! It wasn’t a Warner kind of track, it was a tough test for somebody like a Khawaja, Steven Smith didn’t click and Clarke couldn’t hang around for long.
Life can sometimes throw up opportunities at surprising junctures and this day was meant for Chris Rogers. The conditions, the scoreline, the quality of attack, the context of the competition and the element of luck, it had to sum up with all these facets wrapped up someday for somebody who had to fight his way up for years.
20000+ runs and 14 years of first class cricket are numbers testimony to the magnitude of his wait and the weight of his profile; in addition to a Brad Hodge like accident of birth. His first break at international cricket came as an injury replacement in 2008 at Perth against India. Australian fans wouldn’t want to recollect the 4 days of that Test, and so wouldn’t Rogers; having missed an opportunity to shine on a familiar track.
Hard work and perseverance pays off and Chris Rogers would be a decent illustration to back that thought. Notwithstanding his medical issues, Rogers kept scoring runs on the domestic circuit in a period Australia was losing its irreplaceable superstars. Time follows only one direction and Rogers was up against a tight race of seeking another knock of opportunity. The chance finally came and on the big stage – Ashes 2013.
Time at the crease and starts without conversion was the trend which Rogers knocks followed in the first three Tests. Akin to Australia’s batting in the series Rogers’s confidence is growing with every outing. With Watson, Warner in the mix it was imperative for Rogers to deliver for survival in the playing eleven. After seven innings in the series Rogers is the second highest run getter for Australia and Watson/Warner are fluctuating positions around Rogers.
Rogers is neither the most fluent stroke player going around nor an impact factor in a batting line-up, but his buckle-down-to-counter-pressure approach is what stands out. His technique isn’t illustrious but given his recent exploits can be definitely termed as effective. There is semblance around that petite stature, so are attributes like focus, hunger and concentration.
10th August 2013 is one day which Chris Rogers’s memory storage organs will never erase. From being a part of Australia’s forgotten XI lists to being a part of a trivia list of oldest maiden century scorer, Chris Rogers has undergone a roller coaster ride, without a visible sense of disappointment, frustration or overwhelming emotions.
Shane Watson with a solid stay at the crease threatened to overshadow Rogers’s knock but this had to be the opener’s moment. He will hog the headlines today and presents himself an opportunity to greater recognition and a few more years of international cricket. He may not be the big star on the block or a long term mainstay in Australia’s batting, but Chris Rogers’s story is a rosy tale for cricket followers to track.