Harris, 28, has averaged 24.06 without a century in his nine Tests, the last of which was the Ashes series decider at The Oval last year. His final two dismissals in England – squared up and caught at slip, and bowled from around the wicket by Stuart Broad – highlighted that technical change was needed.
Rogers, now the Victorian coach and a man who relentlessly refined his own batting technique, said the man known as “Harry” knew he needed to be more side-on at the point of contact.
“We just discussed where he was at and he identified he wanted to line up a bit straighter towards the ball,” Rogers said on Thursday.
“Sometimes you feel you are doing the right things and other times bad habits creep in gradually, and he probably just got to a point he didn’t realise he was just squaring up a bit too much. So, just trying to keep a him bit more side on. He has worked so hard with it. Credit to him. That takes time and he was prepared to go down that journey.
“That’s not to say he is the finished article. I think he will even admit there still can be improvement made in there, but he is going in the right direction. His name is certainly coming up (for Test selection).”
Harris also had a propensity to chase balls outside off stump but a more side-on approach may help alleviate that.
“If you get a bit front-on, your hands tend to chase the ball. They kind of push out and follow the ball and edge, particularly around the gully area,” Rogers, also an assistant coach with the A squad, said.
“As left-handers, you knew you were in good form a lot of the time when you were playing and missing because you knew were holding your bat down the line – you weren’t chasing the ball.”
Harris opened in all four Tests on home soil against India two years ago, passing 50 twice, and is all the more wiser for the experience of dealing with pace aces Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.
“Technique aside, that whole experience, being found out a little bit but understanding what you need to improve, and even the outside noise that happens with international cricket, the pressures that come from elsewhere, you are probably a little bit older, a little bit wiser, and probably can deal with it a little bit better,” Rogers said.
Burns, with only 61 runs in seven first-class innings this summer, including 4 and 0 against India A this week, has had “excellent” preparation, according to the national selectors. His Test spot may ultimately be saved because of David Warner’s groin injury and the uncertainty over Pucovski, who remains in the A camp and, according to Carey, is in “really high spirits”.
Carey, looking forward to taking on what is expected to be an Indian line-up at almost full Test strength, has backed Burns to rebound.
“We know how good a player he is. No doubt, he will be working really hard to score some runs as always. But (we) fully trust the way he goes about it,” he said.
“He is a proven opening batsman over a long time now so seeing him and ‘Harry’ line up at the top against a really strong Indian team will be a great opportunity for both of them.”
Boom all-rounder Cameron Green, fresh off a century against India A, has another opportunity to shoe-horn his way into the Test XI.
Australia A: Joe Burns, Marcus Harris, Moises Henriques, Cameron Green, Nic Maddinson, Alex Carey (c, wk), Ben McDermott, Sean Abbott, Will Sutherland, Harry Conway, Mitchell Swepson, Mark Steketee.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj
Jon Pierik is cricket writer for The Age. He also covers AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.