Tamil Diplomat

Chris Rogers says Australia will not hold back on-pitch aggression

Australia batsman Chris Rogers insists his side have no intention of toning down their on-field conduct after Jonathan Agnew criticised their behaviour in the aftermath of Phillip Hughes’ death.

BBC cricket correspondent Agnew declared his disappointment at the way the Baggy Greens carried themselves during an ill-tempered Test series against India.

It was Australia’s first assignment since Hughes was tragically killed after being struck by a bouncer and some expected it to be a less combustible contest than in previous years.

Australia captain Michael Clarke also made a series of emotional speeches about his late team-mate, vowing to keep Hughes’ memory alive through the national team.

But Agnew, writing in the Radio Times, believes the angry scenes and sledging between Australia and India players set a poor example.

“I really hoped that out of this tragedy might have come some good,” he wrote. “But the players haven’t behaved any better, and I think that’s a real disappointment. The onus is on Australia to lead the way, and for others to grasp the opportunity … we owe it to Phillip Hughes.”

Rogers, a mild-mannered presence in the middle, was not involved in any spats personally but insists the rivals stayed within acceptable boundaries.

“Looking from the outside it looks like a few flashpoints and a bit of spite but that’s just the nature of Test cricket,” he 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.”

Agnew went on to suggest he would use Clarke’s words as a standard for the Australian side to live up to, and with an Ashes series in England this summer he will surely get the chance.

But Rogers does not anticipate a discernible shift in tone from his colleagues. “Everyone is desperate to win and sometimes these things happen,” he said.

“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.”