CHENNAI: Former Australia opener Chris Rogers, who is the high performance coach at Australian Academy in Brisbane, was all praise for Steve Smith, who single-handedly won the Ashes opener for Australia.
“He’s right up there. The fact that he seems to have gotten better is incredible. I was lucky enough to play against Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. Smith is in that league. When I played with him in 2013, I didn’t expect him to be in such a position.”
Coach of an Australian selection of players who are in Chennai for training, Rogers believes that Australia will carry the momentum into the second Test.
“The way they won after being 122/8 will be a morale-booster. These are the kind of wins you look back at and draw inspiration from. Coaches believe in the team and start thinking that they can win from anywhere. That win will be a big dent on England’s confidence. In the previous series, they bullied us a bit, and that definitely wasn’t the case in the first Test.”
Rogers feels that the second Test may be a good chance for Cameron Bancroft to further his case as a regular opener.
“He has a good opportunity to make it his own. Lord’s could be batting friendly. In case he is in the XI and manages to get some confidence back, he will be primed for that spot.”
The 41-year-old believes that England will miss James Anderson.
“Anderson is a huge loss. I was always hoping he would get injured,” he said with a laugh. “He holds the attack together. Now others have to step up. Can’t wait to see what Jofra has up his sleeve.”
Australia have a problem of plenty as far as their pacers go, and coming up with the right combination will be a task in itself, feels Rogers.
“The important thing I learnt as a captain in County cricket is to control the run rate. The ball swings all the way through to the 80-over mark, so you are always going to get opportunities. It’s not that important to blast teams out. If you just control the run rate and stay in the game, then you will find that you will take 10 wickets.
“That’s the reason why they used Peter Siddle. A left-armer at Lord’s would be invaluable because of the slope. They will bring (Mitchell) Starc in. It’s a blessing for the selectors to have such depth.”