Steve Smith is right up there, says Chris Rogers

‘If Australia gets a good start in the second Ashes Test it will be tough for England’

Former Australia Test opener Chris Rogers feels Steve Smith could well go past the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and A.B. de Villiers in the all-time lists of greats if he continues the kind of form he displayed in the first Ashes Test, where he scored a century in each innings and set up a memorable win for Australia when the team was struggling.

Rogers, who played 25 Tests, is here as the coach of the Australian Cricket Academy team that is training at the MRF Pace foundation.

‘Incredible’

“He is right up there. The fact that he has gotten better is pretty incredible. I was lucky enough to play against Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and de Villiers and Steve (Smith) is in their league. If he is going to continue what he is doing then he is going to force his way past them,” said Rogers.

Australia came back from tough situations in Birmingham to win the game and Rogers feels that could define the series.

“The way we played and the confidence we got as a side out of that… to win from a tough position will hold us in good stead. If we get a good start in the second Test it will be tough for England.”

An area of weakness for the current Aussie side has been the opening, where Cameron Bancroft is under the pump after a poor first Test.

“I think there is a lot of competition for that spot at the moment and if you don’t perform there is someone else who is putting his hand up.

“Lord’s can be a batting friendly pitch at times. So if he (Bancroft) can get that opportunity and nail it, that would be good. But Marcus Harris is a very good player and his game has come along well so… we have got some good options.”

Chance for youngsters

Speaking about the current trip and the key focus areas, Rogers said: “Australia is going to play a lot of cricket in Asia in the next three-four years and it will give a chance to some of the youngsters on how to play and develop their game.

“We want our players to come here, learn, make mistakes and learn from them. Watching (Usman) Khawaja bat and using the reverse sweep, which he learned a bit from here, getting out a few times but going out and getting a 150 against Pakistan in the UAE using the same tactic shows how he has developed as a player.”

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