Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Australia opener Chris Rogers has dismissed accusations from English commentator Jonathan Agnew that the Baggy Greens failed to honour Phillip Hughes by opting to continue with their aggressive brand of cricket during the recent Test series against India.
While Rogers stated that Australia will always play with fire and aggression, he added that there instances of camaraderie between both teams.
“Looking from the outside it looks like a few flash points and a bit of spite but that’s just the nature of Test cricket,” Rogers said. “Everyone goes out there and competes as hard as they can. At times the anger does rise to the surface. I’d like to think it was pretty hard fought but everybody afterwards still gets on and what happens the field stays on the field.
“I think there was still a lot of respect. India gave as good as they got and we like that. We enjoyed the way they played. Virat [Kohli] was exceptional, led from the front and he wanted that kind of competition. Everyone is desperate to win and sometimes these things happen. With the fast bowlers we have in our side, it’s about being aggressive, getting to the opposition. I wouldn’t think things would change, particularly with the Ashes coming up.”
Even though Rogers appeared to be more mellow when responding to Agnew’s claims, the same cannot be said about other members of the Australian team.
“I have that Michael Clarke speech tucked away ready to throw at the Australians,” Agnew had said. “If this is really how you feel then let’s see how you play.
“Michael Clarke said very clearly that Hughes’s memory would run through the team, and would be in the way they would play their cricket. Well, I haven’t seen evidence of that. I really hoped that out of this tragedy might have come some good. But the players haven’t behaved any better, and I think that’s a real disappointment.
“It’s all you hear on a cricket field: ‘Knock his head off, knock his head off.’ There’s a good chance someone shouted ‘Knock his head off’ at that particular ball. Cricket has gone too far. It shouldn’t be posturing, abusing. I know there has been a lot of bad blood between Australia and India for some years now, but it was an opportunity.”
Lending his view on the issue through a column for ESPNcricinfo, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting wrote: “Australia can’t lose sight of the fact that last summer they established a brand of cricket that will be very hard to beat at home. What Michael Clarke, Darren Lehmann and the players put together against England stands as a real blueprint for how they want to play their Test cricket, especially in home conditions.
“They forged an identity for themselves as a team and the way they wanted to go about playing their cricket. It’s important they build on that and continue to play the hard-nosed, aggressive Australian way. I’d love to see Mitchell Johnson run in and bowl a bouncer first ball of the Test match.
“I don’t want to see anyone get hurt, but the bouncer’s part of the fabric of the game, and if they’re not playing in the aggressive way they did last summer then they’re not actually playing in what I believe is the spirit of Test match cricket. In his speech at the funeral, Michael talked about the spirit of the game and how important it is, and to me that spirit is a really aggressive nature and attitude, a fierce will to win.”