Breaking: Somerset ‘targeting Chris Rogers deal’

Chris Rogers
Newspaper reports suggest Somerset are targeting Australian Test opener Chris Rogers with a move to Taunton, should he leave Middlesex.

Reports emerged this morning that Somerset are hoping to sign veteran Australian Test opener Chris Rogers, should he be unable to agree a new deal with Middlesex for next season.

Rogers, 37, who scored 173 in this month’s Ashes Test at Lord’s, played for the north London county between 2011 and 2014, but according to an exclusive report in The Bristol Post today, his future in the capital is unclear.

The Post says it understands that Somerset Director of Cricket Matt Maynard believes Rogers is the kind of player who would fit the bill for the side he is trying to build at Somerset.

Rogers indicated that he would retire from Test cricket after the current Ashes series. He is playing in the third Test at Edgbaston today, having recovered from a blow on the head while batting against Jimmy Anderson at Lord’s, which resulted in worrying dizzy spells. Fortunately medics ruled out concussion; an injury he sustained only very recently during the Australian tour of the West Indies.

Rogers scored big runs as Middlesex captain, including what Team Director Angus Fraser described as the greatest innings he had seen by a Middlesex player, when Rogers made an unbeaten 241 over two days in April last year to help his side chase down 472 to beat Yorkshire by seven wickets. He scored another unbeaten double century at Taunton last September to save the game for Middlesex after Somerset enforced the follow-on.

While Rogers would not be a long-term investment, he would bring a much-needed resolve to a Somerset batting line-up which has struggled throughout 2015, frequently collapsing from strong positions. Rogers is renowned for his professionalism and for setting high standards of himself. He has maintained his form at Test level, averaging 44.33 with 5 centuries, despite his late entry onto the international scene.

He has extensive experience of county cricket, having played for Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire as well as Middlesex during his career, averaging more than 50 for each county.

Born in New South Wales, he represented Western Australia in state cricket for almost 10 years (before joining Victoria) and it was Perth where he won what appeared to be his only Test cap in January 2008 against India, where he was dismissed cheaply in both innings.

Matt Maynard watches as Abdur Rehman practices in the nets Photo by Alexander Davidson
Matt Maynard has not been afraid to make hard decisions, dropping Marcus Trescothick, Alfonso Thomas and Abdur Rehman for the Royal London One-Day Cup. Photo by Alexander Davidson

Six years later during the Ashes tour of England in 2013, a few weeks short of his 36th birthday, Australia turned to Rogers to bring some badly needed experience to their side after the recent retirements of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey. He scored 110 against England at Durham and has been a regular in the Australian side ever since.

Before today’s third Test, Rogers has accumulated a total of 24,307 runs in 294 first-class matches at an average of 50.01 with 73 centuries and 114 fifties. He has also made 5,346 runs in 167 List A games at an average of 36.86 with 5 centuries and 36 fifties.

Maynard would not be drawn by The Bristol Post on whether Rogers had been contacted – or even was a target. He did confirm though that, after dropping Marcus Trescothick, Alfonso Thomas and Abdur Rehman for the Royal London Cup, more tough decisions would be taken in the near future, including one in the next few days.

He hoped people would see what he was trying to do and see the bigger picture, which was not just about the here and now.

Talking to The Post’s Steve Cotton about the ‘hard decision’ to be announced shortly: “That will add further clarity to where we are looking to go with the team, but we can’t accept mediocrity from our senior players.”

If Rogers joins Somerset this winter, he would become the second player Maynard has signed for 2016, along with Roelof van der Merwe, who will return to the club after previous stints as a T20 player.