Rogers to play key role in Ashes: Finch

The inclusion of Chris Rogers in Australia’s Ashes squad will be a vital tool to countering the lack of experience among its batsmen, according to his Victorian teammate Aaron Finch.

The 35-year-old has the least international experience of any of the batsmen – playing only one Test, in 2008 – but has played 239 first-class matches over 15 years, almost half of them in England.

Finch, who was confirmed as Steve Smith’s deputy for Australia A’s tour of South Africa next month, reckoned Rogers had long been worthy of Test selection and would prove that if given a chance against England.

”[Rogers] has been a stand-out player for 10 years, really, and his opportunities have been quite limited due to the weight of runs of Simon Katich, ‘Hughesy’ [Phillip Hughes], ‘Watto’ [Shane Watson] and Davey Warner. As stupid as it sounds, it was probably hard to fit the guy in – for a guy averaging 50 that’s extraordinary,” Finch said on Wednesday. ”In the past two years he’s battled to get a Victorian contract [due to his age]. His determination has really got him through that.”

Finch said Rogers ”is not there to impress anyone with his technique” but that the importance of aesthetics was secondary to performance. Since 2004 Rogers has only twice averaged under 50 in English county four-day matches, and will join the Ashes squad having averaged 65.83 so far this season for Middlesex.

”He’s one player whose average isn’t bumped up by his county cricket. He’s someone who averages 50 everywhere he plays,” Finch said.

”Nobody really knows how he does it because his technique is not great to look at, but the way he thinks through his batting [is exemplary].”

Finch believes Rogers’ presence will benefit younger teammates Hughes, Warner and Usman Khawaja.

”It is quite an inexperienced side and just to have a guy who’s played there so much, at every possible ground and who knows the conditions so well, to be able to transfer that on to the young guys will be immense for them. Having him part of the squad will make it a better place,” he said.

The selection of Finch in the 16-man Australia A squad that includes Ashes contenders Fawad Ahmed and Ashton Agar – if chosen, they will be withdrawn from the South Africa trip – comes after he successfully led the team to a thrashing of England’s development team in a one-day series last summer.

Finch, 26, said he was striving to fix the minor technical flaws that had him floundering in Sheffield Shield in the past two years – in stark contrast to his fine limited-overs form.

”Scoring at a decent rate has never been an issue, it’s just batting for longer periods. n]. With the slight batting technique changes I’m making … I’m starting to feel like my batting has got some real flow to it, starting to feel natural.

”It’s never easy to make technical changes, but to improve you’ve got to do that. I’m looking forward to trying to put that into practise, I’ve got confidence it will serve me well,” Finch said.

The Australia A series features matches against Zimbabwe, South Africa A and India A from July 18.

Australia A squad: Smith (c), Finch (vc), Agar, Ahmed, Coulter-Nile, Doolan, Hazlewood, Henriques, Maddinson, M Marsh, S Marsh, Maxwell, Paine, Sandhu, Sayers, Cummins.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.