Sep 6 2012 By Jon Batham
CHRIS Rogers confirmed yesterday he has signed the contract which will see him end his first-class career at Middlesex.
The acting captain of the tenants of Lord’s put pen to paper on a two-year deal at the end of which he gave a broad hint it would be time to hang up his boots.
The length of the contract appears to have been the only sticking point and Rogers’ signature on it puts an end to speculation the much in demand Aussie opener may jump ship at the end of the campaign and join London rivals Surrey.
Rogers insisted there was never any real question where his cricketing heart lay.
He said: “There was never much doubt I would sign a new deal at Middlesex. I had spoken to Gus and we had pretty much given each other our word. I wanted to play here for a couple of years and see out my career here and so that was the only real change that came about.”
Rogers has proved arguably the best signing of Angus Fraser’s tenure as Director of Cricket to date, scoring well over 2000 runs as the backbone of the batting line-up. He is one of only two players to pass 1000 first-class runs in this seamer-friendly summer so far.
It would seem the respect goes both ways with Rogers citing Fraser as a major part of his decision to stay, along with the conviction Middlesex as a county are on the up.
He said: “Once I had spoken to Gus that was pretty much it – I didn’t want to go anywhere else. I think he is an exceptional man and I think this is an exceptional club – I enjoy being part of it. There have been some really good signs. Dexy has come good, Crooky (Steven Crook) is scoring runs and taking wickets, Toby (Roland-Jones) has been brilliant and Ravi (Patel) is stepping up.
“Other guys who have I guess a little bit been passengers this year are also stepping up and showing they could be very good first class cricketers.”
His runs aside Rogers has had to astutely navigate Middlesex through their first season back in the County Championship’s top flight since 2006 after Club Captain Neil Dexter stood aside from four-day leadership duties early in the campaign to rediscover his batting form.
The understanding has always been Dexter would resume the mantle whenever he was ready and initially at least his stand-in gave the impression he was a reluctant leader referring to the role as ‘All-encompassing’ on more than one occasion.
However, in an interview with the Uxbridge Gazette earlier this year he revealed he and Dexter had discussed making the current arrangement where Dexter takes over in one-day cricket and he keeps the four-day reins a permanent one. And this week he gave the strongest indication yet he would relish keeping the Championship captaincy.
He added: “I don’t think we are really in the same place as we were over the captaincy. At some stage the management, Dexy (Dexter) and myself need to sit down and work out what is best for everyone involved and best for the club. I enjoy the leadership and I would quite like to be involved in it, so there are a few options I think we could explore.”
Before all those decisions Rogers co must try and complete their plan to gate-crash the Division One top three by securing a last match win over relegation-haunted Lancashire.
The game is delicately poised after day two with the visitors 236-3 in reply to Middlesex’s 446 and a new ball due after just three overs in the morning.
Rogers called the wicket ‘The flattest I’ve ever seen at Lord’s’ but he still feels his side hold the upper hand ahead of day three. We are still in a pretty good position and they have got to take some gambles I think and it is going to be interesting to see how they play it.
“There’s two ways they can go about it. Either they try and get a lead and then bowl us out or they declare behind and try and chase what we set them knowing we are likely to want to make a game of it. There could be a god game developing here I think.”