Why Rogers took to his Baggy Green with scissors

Recently retired opener Chris Rogers reveals why he attacked his brand new Baggy Green cap with a pair of scissors

For years after making his inauspicious Test debut, Chris Rogers feared that he would never again receive the opportunity to represent his country and that the Baggy Green Cap he earned in 2008 might be the only tangible evidence of his international cricket career.

But having added a further 24 Tests to that maiden appearance to forge a record of substance in elite company, Rogers has now revealed that – rather like his own self-belief – Test cap number 399 was almost damaged beyond redemption just one day after he earned it.

And in what might be a first for an Australia cricketer - certainly in the era where the Baggy Green carries the mystique and reverence more often afforded a Turin shroud – he admits to attacking his most treasured item of playing memorabilia with a pair of scissors.

In a WACA Ground dressing room full of incredulous Australian teammates.

However, Rogers told that the act of self-mutilation inflicted on his pristine cap was not born from frustration or disillusionment despite a taxing first day as a Test cricketer, but rather a ham-fisted attempt to look after his own wellbeing.

Having received the treasured garment from his Western Australia teammate and recently retired Test opener Justin Langer prior to play beginning against India at the WACA in January 2008, Rogers then watched on as his skipper Ricky Ponting lost the toss which ensured he spent day one of his Test career in the field.

Chris Rogers
Rogers receives his Baggy Green - before the cutting began // Getty

On a stifling Perth summer’s day that gave rise to Rogers’ Baggy Green Cap headache.

"I haven’t really told many people but the first Baggy Green I got was too tight for me because I’ve got a big head," Rogers told prior to heading to the UK to play for Somerset in the upcoming England county championship.

"It was around 40 degrees (centigrade), I had the cap on, we fielded day one and I was getting big headaches.

"Then on day two I went to put my cap on and just immediately got a headache – it was too tight.

"So I just tried snipping it with scissors and tried to stretch it, and I actually ripped my Baggy Green.

"Phil Jaques (Rogers’ new Test opening partner) was next to me and he just said "what have you done?".

"And then (vice-captain Adam) Gilchrist came over and was laughing at me and I didn’t know what to do."

Chris Rogers
The cap tightens around Rogers' head on a hot Perth day // Getty

Realising he could not take to the field clad in a torn Test cap, Rogers enlisted the help of another WA teammate Brad Hogg (who had been overlooked for the Perth Test in favour of fast bowler Shaun Tait) and borrowed his Baggy Green for day two.

It was in Hogg’s cap that Rogers made perhaps his most significant contribution to a Test that Australia ultimately lost by 72 runs and to which he contributed 4 and 15, flinging himself to his right at point to snare a spectacular catch off opposing captain Anil Kumble on the second morning.

The consequences of his failed attempt at running repairs continued to haunt the then 30-year-old as he stood, waiting for his turn to bat, in the baking Perth sun on that second morning.

"When I went out on the field I remember some bloke in the crowd yelling out to me "I bet you slept in that (cap) last night," Rogers recalled.

"And I was like 'it’s not even mine'. But I got another one fortunately.

"It's not something you want to do in your first Test match, that’s for sure."

Chris Rogers
Rogers - with a new and well-fitted Baggy Green - says goodbye at The Oval // Getty

Rogers can look back philosophically and fondly on the episode having earned the chance – albeit five and a half years later – to retrieve that replacement Baggy Green when called up for his second Test during the 2013 Ashes campaign, in which he secured the opener’s role for the next two years.

But the fall-out from his maiden Test ultimately led to his decision to quit WA where he had grown up and honed his cricket talents, and move across the continent to Victoria where he would resume his domestic and international aspirations.

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That defeat to India, which robbed Ponting’s team of a record 17 consecutive Test victories and which came in the aftermath of the heated and controversial ‘Monkeygate’ match in Sydney, along with his low scores in both innings left Rogers with a slightly tainted memory of his Australia debut.

Though not as bitter as he was when overlooked for the WA team that played New South Wales in a domestic one-day match at the SCG four days after the Test was completed, and after Rogers had been cut from the Australia squad with regular opener Matthew Hayden returning from injury.

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With no room in a strong WA limited-overs top-order that included Shaun Marsh, Adam Voges, Marcus North, Luke Pomersbach and (now New Zealand ‘keeper) Luke Ronchi, Rogers decided it was time to seek elsewhere the job opportunities demanded by his chosen profession.

"When I got left out of WA one-day side the week after the Test match (in 2008) ... I went from playing Test cricket to grade cricket in the space of a week when WA was playing, and that was pretty hard to cop," Rogers said.

"As a professional cricketer you want to play as much cricket as you can, and to get left out of things ... nobody wants to be dropped.

"I still felt I was good enough to play one-day cricket (at domestic level) ... and I got in in the (then Ford Ranger Cup) team of year in my first season with the Vics."