Wednesday, April 4, 2012
With 14 years’ experience of first-class cricket and almost 17,000 runs to his name, you might imagine Chris Rogers had seen and done it all.
Yet Thursday’s County Championship curtain-raiser against Somerset at Taunton will be as new an experience for the 34-year-old Australian as for many other members of the Middlesex squad.
During previous spells at Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Derbyshire, Rogers never got the opportunity to play at the top level – and he admits to a certain degree of apprehension as Middlesex finally make their return to Division One.
“A lot of us don’t really know what to expect,” Rogers told london24.com. “We haven’t played the top sides in four-day cricket before, so there’s uncertainty about how tough it’s going to be.
“As a club, we haven’t been in Division One for a long while and there is a fair bit of nervousness, but a lot of anticipation as well and it’s something everyone’s excited about.
“I’m personally looking forward to it as well – it’s my first time in Division One and there’s not a hell of a lot I get to do that’s new these days! I’m hoping I can make an impression and help Middlesex to compete.
“I look at the talent in the squad and I think there’s a lot of ability. If people have the belief and the rub of the green, we could do quite well, and there are a few who could have a stand-out season.
“There’s pressure on all of us to perform. If you’re not performing, you might be out of the team, but that’s part of the challenge, and we’ll all be ready to go and compete as hard as we can.”
Rogers rapidly became a mainstay of the batting line-up in his first season at Lord’s, topping Middlesex’s run charts and scoring match-saving centuries against Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire.
Although the county have not named an official vice-captain, he also took charge of the team when skipper Neil Dexter was injured, and displayed a positive outlook that will again be crucial to Middlesex’s chances of success.
“The thing I try and extol to the rest of the team is just a willingness to turn up and enjoy yourself,” said Rogers.
“At times it can be a bit of a grind, but if we can all enjoy each other’s company and play in the same spirit we played in last year, I think we’ll be ok.
“When things go badly, people start to whinge and negative things crop up, and it can all fall away.
“If we maintain a good attitude I’m sure we’ll compete well and surprise a few people, least of all ourselves.”