Ashes recall no formality: Chris Rogers

It was in an English tour game involving Australia that Chris Rogers first showed he deserved to play at the highest level.

Rogers, then batting for Leicestershire, scored his maiden double-century against an attack led by Brett Lee.

Some 10 seasons of county cricket later, Rogers has every right to feel bullish about his hopes of a recall for the Ashes opener in a fortnight.

Nobody in Australia’s 17-man squad has had anywhere near as much experience in local conditions.

No teammate can rival Rogers’ record of almost 24,000 first-class runs.

However, the 37-year-old concedes he is no automatic recall after missing Australia’s two recent Tests against the West Indies due to concussion.

“Our depth at the moment is as good as it’s been in a long time,” Rogers said.

“There’s a couple of tour games to force my way back into the side and that’s what I plan to do.

“There’s always pressure … it’s something to be pretty positive about.”

The opener dilemma and likely return of Ryan Harris are the two key calls that national selectors must make before the series starts in Cardiff on July 8.

Harris and Rogers both featured in an academy match on the Isle of Wight last week, with the left-hander no longer experiencing headaches and dizziness.

“The doctor was pretty reassuring so I didn’t worry about it too much,” he said.

None of Shaun Marsh, Adam Voges, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood deserve to be dropped, but the expectation is an incumbent bowler and batsman face the chop.

The team start their first tune-up game on Thursday night (AEST) against Kent in Canterbury, then face Essex the following week.

Don’t expect either fixture to be too illuminating when it comes to Australia’s first-choice XI.

“I assume a few of the guys won’t play both practice matches, so there may be a little bit of rotation,” Rogers said.

Rogers has scored a ton at Canterbury’s St Lawrence Ground, although perhaps it would be quicker to list the English venues where he hasn’t been among the runs.

The veteran couldn’t imagine a better place for his final tour with the national side.

“I’ve been able to make good friends and play against a lot of excellent cricketers. I’m lucky to have had those experiences and I guess that’s why it makes this pretty special,” Rogers said.

“I’m not thinking about it too much at the moment, but I’m sure when it gets closer it might sink in.”

Rogers rated his 209 against Australia in 2005 as one of his favourite county memories.

“Just because it gave me a lot of belief and maybe put my name up a little bit,” the left-hander explained.

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