Melbourne, Oct 11 (IANS) Retired opening batsman Chris Rogers on Sunday urged the Australian supporters to show patience this summer, warning that the next generation of Test players will take time to adjust to the challenge of international cricket.
Australia’s Test side is in a state of flux following the Ashes defeat to England and the retirement of five senior players — including Rogers — before, during and after the 2-3 series loss. The make-up of the XI for the first Test against New Zealand early next month was clouded further a fortnight ago when Cricket Australia (CA) postponed their scheduled tour of Bangladesh, which would have been Smith’s first series as full-time captain.
The 15-man squad for that tour included 10 players with 10 Tests of experience or less and only three to have played more than 30 matches. David Warner, Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood are expected to return to the squad for the series against the Black Caps, but selectors will still need to find a new opening partner to take the spot of Rogers as well as a replacement for Michael Clarke in the middle order.
However, Rogers is confident that Australia has the talent to eventually fill the breach, but cautions that the step up from domestic cricket to Test level should not be under-estimated. “I think people have to be patient with what happens with the side now. The one thing I got out of my experience in international cricket is it is very hard work. Sometimes the competition between bat and ball is not necessarily any harder, it’s all the other things that go with it,” Rogers told cricket.com.au. “The pressure and the stress and the criticism, all those kind of things and the guys are going to find that really hard, I think, especially if they have some tough results along the way. It might be a little bit tough early, but I think there’s enough good players to ensure that it’s still going to be a good side in the future.” Rogers has identified former state teammates Peter Handscomb and Marcus Stoinis as two players who will be crucial elements of Smith’s side in the future.
Stoinis made his T20I and ODI debuts for Australia on the recent tour of England, while Handscomb’s late call-up to the ODI squad — albeit from a county stint with Gloucestershire — indicates that he too is on the radar of selectors.
The 24-year-old Handscomb has received the endorsement of both Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne, while selector Mark Waugh has backed Stoinis to be a Test all-rounder of the future. “I don’t know if they’re necessarily ready just yet, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have witnessed their improvement over the last few years,” the former left-hand bat said. “And they’re two guys who I think have got not only the ability, but the self-awareness and the self-management to go all the way. So I have high hopes for those two. I think we’ll see a lot more of them in the future,” added Rogers.