Chris Rogers looks set reclaim his spot as Australia’s opener for the Ashes after taking great strides in his recovery from concussion symptoms.
Rogers missed both of Australia’s Test wins in the West Indies after being felled by a bouncer during a net session on the eve of the first Test.
The blow left the 37-year-old struggling with headaches and dizzy spells as he was forced to sit out the two-Test series.
However, he bounced back to score a confident 70 in an invitational warm-up match on the Isle of Wight this week, in which Test teammate Ryan Harris made a successful return from a knee injury, and then performed strongly on Sunday during Australia’s first training session in London.
Captain Michael Clarke said he was encouraged by Rogers’ presence at training and said, mentally, he had taken giant strides forward this week.
“It was definitely (encouraging). I think mentally as much as anything,” Clarke said.
“For him to have the confidence to walk back out on that field and play with freedom (is encouraging).
“I watched him bat (on Sunday) – he looked really good.
“Chris is a really experienced player. He’s had a lot of success in the UK. He’s going to play a big part throughout this series.”
Rogers’ return means West Australian pair Adam Voges and Shaun Marsh are likely fighting it out for the No.5 batting spot.
Voges starred in the role in the West Indies, plundering a crucial century on debut in the first Test mauling, while Marsh initially struggled as Rogers’ replacement in opening the batting, before finishing on a high with an improved 69 in the second Test.
Australia start their campaign on Thursday with a tour match against Kent, with Rogers, Voges and Marsh all likely to feature as they attempt to confirm their places in Darren Lehmann’s starting XI for the opening Ashes Test from July 8 in Cardiff.