Chris Rogers denies claims of Australian team disrespecting Phillip Hughes' memory
Australian opening batsman Chris Rogers has strongly dispelled the suggestion by noted BBC correspondent Jonathan Agnew that the Australian cricketers failed to respect the memory of Phillip Hughes by not toning down on their sledging during the just-concluded Test series against India.
Agnew, in an interview with Radio Times magazine, had expressed disappointment with Australian captain Michael Clarke and the rest of the Australian team for the prevalent sledging, accusing them of not following up on their words prior to the series.
“Michael Clarke said very clearly that Hughes’s memory would run through the team and would be there in the way they would play their cricket,” Agnew said.
“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.”
After Hughes’ tragic death, in November, Clarke had led the way by giving a fitting tribute to his former teammate and close friend. He had said: “Phillip’s spirit, which is now part of our game forever, will act as a custodian of the sport around the world.”
Test series was hard fought: Rogers
Rogers, however, refuted Agnew’s claims and said that they just went back to playing the brand of cricket which brings the best out of them. There had been quite a few heated confrontations between the Indian and Australian players right throughout the series. The confrontations looked pretty unpleasant from the outside and gave the feeling that the two sets of players have a strong dislike for each other, but the 37-year-old insisted that both the sides respect each other and that a few flash points were inevitable in a series of such high-profile nature.
"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."