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Chris Rogers could rule Lord’s for Middlesex and Australia in 2013

A case of logic overcame the Australian cricket selectors last week. It’s not something they’ve been over-familiar with of late, but picking Brad Haddin as vice-captain made sense. His batting numbers are about the same as Matthew Wade’s but his experience will be handy in the Ashes.

Even more sensible, while called a ‘shock’ and ‘surprise’ by some, is the recall of Chris Rogers.

Rogers already has a Baggy Green – look at him doing his best Cheshire Cat face on receiving it in Perth in 2008. The grin didn’t last long, though. He scored 19 in his two innings and was filling in for Matthew Hayden, who was fit for the next game. Dumped. 

So the journeyman – who played for Shropshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Wiltshire and Northamptonshire before taking over the captaincy of Middlesex, and despite being from Sydney, played 10 years for Western Australia and now Victoria – has had to wait five years.

What’s he done? Scored runs, in Australia and England, in what was surely a clincher when the 16-man Ashes squad was devised. Forget he’s 35 (Haddin’s age), the selectors went with the “best man for the job” theory. Rightly, given the situation.

Rogers’ first class average after 14 years just ticked over 50 thanks to a solid start to the season for Middlesex, who’ve won their first two County Championship games in a doddle. His numbers aren’t inflated by Aussie or UK conditions, they’re about the same in both, and he’s also committed to the long form of the game.

When in the 11 he’ll be seen as a leader among the young line-up, too. He’s skippered Middlesex into division one in his first year in 2011 and to third last year, their best since 1995. Now they’re a competition favourite. 

From Wednesday this week, he faces off against another opener-skipper in South Africa’s Graeme Smith as Surrey visit Lord’s, where Australia and England play the second Ashes test from July 18.

With big quick Chris Tremlett back fit for Surrey and pushing for an England spot, could this be a dress rehearsal for Rogers? I’ll be there just in case it is.

Agree or disagree? Is Rogers the right man for the job? letters@tntmagazine.com

 

Watch wood, not very gnawy boy

It’s such a shame when the headlines are dominated by an act of idiocy from a serial offender, in this case Liverpool biter Luis Suarez, when there’s guys like TNT’s favourite striker, Chris Wood, going about their business. 

New Zealander Wood, a West Bromwich-Albion loan-out when he impressed for Millwall last year, is now kicking butt for Leicester City after signing with them for £2m in January.

His coach Nigel Pearson has dubbed his start at the Premier League promotion hopefuls as “exceptional” and says he’s a key player in their future plans. 

Some frontmen trade in finesse and flair, Wood is an old-school tank who uses his strength, composure, speed and left-boot rocket to do damage.

He has 22 goals for the season, scored between at times 36-hour flights from All Whites games. He also seems a stand-up bloke, so worth more attention than that gnawy moron.

Photo: Getty


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