Chris Rogers: A quiet workhorse who has been a huge value for Australia at the top of the order

Ankit Banerjee gives you a sharper view of Chris Rogers, the work-horse who is playing his farewell Test at The Oval.

We have, over the years, related Australians to being aggressive, brash and fighters. The history of Australian islands throws sufficient light on what I am trying to say. Legend has it that Australians are aboriginals who were thugs or criminals from a different European land and due to a lack of prisons they were isolated in the barren islands of the Southern Hemisphere.

Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh, Shane Warne were fighters who never took nonsense from oppositions. In fact, the Australians took sledging to a new level as part of their ploy to win games.

Chris Rogers, our protagonist, is the total antithesis of the archetypal Australia.  He is s soft-spoken, quietly goes about his chosen trade and opens the Australian Test innings with a brutal, pint-sized dynamo David Warner. Looking at his technique, you realise he is no Matthew Hayden or Adam Gilchrist. He is fidgety, looks uncomfortable and gives the feeling that he labours for runs. He is someone who looks for room outside the off stump and favours the square region on the off side — like Sourav Ganguly.

Rogers is 37. He was a late entrant to the international stage when he debuted in 2008 at Perth against India. Before the final Ashes Test at Old Trafford, he has played 24 Test matches and scored 1972 runs at an average of 42.86, which is acceptable any day of the week. But his approach has not been like his predecessors in the opening slot like Michael Slater or Hayden.

A highest score of 173 justifies his talent at the top level. After Hayden left, they felt Rogers had the ideal dollop of experience one needs considering his good run at the First-Class stage. In domestic circuit, he was a run-machine for 15 years.

Despite all the runs Rogers scored, Greg Chappell never considered him a good batsman. But Chappell finally admitted he was wrong in his assessment. Rogers revealed, “Greg Chappell said to me a few months back that he was wrong about me. I was quite proud of that.”

Given his familiarity with English seaming conditions — he played for four counties — Rogers was a key player in the Australian scheme of things. Before the final Test, Rogers had scored 437 runs at a prolific average of 62.5 in the 2015 Ashes. Quite clearly, Rogers is the best of the beleaguered tourists. Yet, the sheen of his farewell Test will be taken away by his captain, Michael Clarke, who too announced that he is bidding farewell after the ongoing Ashes Test. Clarke is too big a name and its only to be expected that the emotions of saying adieu to him will be lot more stronger than saying to Rogers. But Rogers won’t mind, the typical low-key guy that he has always been.

Once Rogers leaves a vacuum, it will sink in what he brought to the table for Australia. It’s a vacuum that cannot be easily filled.

(A cricket geek to the tee, Ankit Banerjee smokes and snorts it all day long. The romance with the sport incepted since the 1996 World Cup semi-final. He is a winner of the 2011 edition of the All-India college cricket quiz.)