New recruit Chris Rogers met the press today for the first time as Somerset captain and was likened to Viv Richards from his Glamorgan days by Director of Cricket Matt Maynard! Rogers first came to the west country as an 18-year-old playing initially in North Devon and later for Exeter and said a move to Somerset was like his career had moved “full circle”, saying he enjoyed the south west culture and beaches as the nearest you could get to his native Australia.
We managed to grab five minutes of Chris’s time to talk about his hopes for the new season.
You’ve only just arrived in the county following your winter away so what are your first impressions of Taunton and the west country?
Good. It’s been professional so far and they’ve looked after me but as a side the guys have this great willingness to get better so I’ve really enjoyed it so far. The preseason’s been good but come Sunday that’s when we step up and make it count.
Is there a good spirit in the camp?
It’s fantastic actually. I guess it’s good in certain counties where there’s an element of home grown talent and a group of those players playing together and you can see the guys here all really enjoy playing with each other and want each other to do well. And Somerset is definitely one of those counties.
In the past we have endured you batting against Somerset and I recall you scoring some big runs against Somerset and England so it will be nice to actually welcome you to the wicket as one of us for once!
I got a double-hundred and one hundred here for Northampton that I remember but I also got three golden ducks against Andy Caddick but we’ll forget about that!
It’s a pretty good wicket to bat on down here so hopefully there’s going to be some good times and some good partnerships with the likes of Marcus and James and Tom and a few of the other blokes so – yeah – really looking forward to it.
As a captain do you see yourself do anything radically different or simply taking what Tres has done and nurturing slightly?
Every time I played against Somerset I liked what I saw as it was a side that gave everything with a want to win so I have come in not looking to change too much I just want to add to it and particularly with the experience that I’ve had in the past few years playing under Darren Lehmann and hopefully I can help bring a new dimension and take the club in the right direction.
In the press conference Matt Maynard likened you to Viv Richards, no pressure there then?
Yes, I hope he doesn’t expect those killer pull shots? I don’t think I’ve been compared to Viv Richards before but I think he was talking about the influence one person can have on a club and what’s been really good so far is the guys have responded really well to what I have said and hopefully that continues.
With Tres now able to concentrate on scoring runs the top four looks well capable of scoring 5,000 to 5,500 Championship runs. No pressure again.
No pressure. With the batting there are some very good players and we are going to have to bat well all the time and that will hopefully allow the bowlers to put pressure on the opposition. But I think batting could be our strength but it’s all very well talking about it this time of year but we have to go out and make it happen.
Can Somerset actually win the County Championship this season?
Reality? Nine clubs can win the trophy but it’s going to be tough. I think there’s some very good sides this year in the first division and the other 8 sides have Test Cricket played at their grounds so there’s greater resources available to them. But someone has to win it and we’ll be doing as best as we can but for us to win it there’s some certain things that are going to have to happen; we’re going to have to keep people fit and we’re going to need the younger guys to step up – I think that is crucial for us. The likes of the Overton’s, Tommy Abell, Lewis Gregory and Jack Leach – I think that is imperative.
You follow in the footsteps of some great Aussies who have played for and captained the county. In recent years that includes Ricky Ponting while Jamie Cox and Justin Langer also changed the culture at the club. No pressure again! How does it feel to be following this legacy?
It’s just one of those things but I think it’s nice that there’s been some Australians that have done well here and that means there’s probably some support for that kind of style from the Somerset supporters. How long that lasts, well I don’t know, but to follow in those footsteps is a bit of an honour.
Thanks Chris and have a great season