It was announced in October that Australian batsman Chris Rogers would be our overseas player for 2016.
We caught up with our latest recruit recently for this exclusive interview.
Here is what he had to say:
When you look back on your career, particularly the number of years between your first and second caps for Australia, the motto must be “never give up”.
You’re right. There was a five year gap but if I’m honest, I was playing cricket for a living so it’s not as if it was a hardship! I was always enjoying myself and had that drive and personal pride to do well.
You’ve scored a lot of runs during the course of your career, is it possible to pick out a particular innings as your favourite?
The double hundred that I scored against Australia for Leicestershire was incredible (Chris made 219 against the touring Australia side in 2005). It put my name a little bit on the map. Winning the Second Division of the County Championship with Middlesex was something to be proud of too. Middlesex is a big club and they were struggling in the Second Division so it was really nice to be a part of turning that around. There was also a 240 against Yorkshire at Lord’s which is right up there too. (241* from Chris saw Middlesex chase over 470 to win this County Championship match in 2014).
Legend has it that your performance for Leicestershire against Australia in 2005 did not impress a certain Matthew Hayden. Reports at the time claimed that he thought that you should have gotten out to benefit the national team. Was that true?
I think that was blown a little out of proportion. It was a Sunday and I think there was a golf major on at the time so I think he just wanted to get on the bus back to London to watch the end of it! Seriously though it was more tongue in cheek rather than anything untoward.
You must have had a lot of offers ahead of the new season so why did you elect to join us here at Somerset?
There are a few reasons really. First of all I think there’s a lot of very good cricketers there. I feel that there’s a lot of potential there too, particularly with the younger ones like the Overton twins, Tom Abell and those kind of guys. That was very attractive and the other thing was that I spent my first few years playing amateur cricket in England at North Devon Cricket Club. I remember at the time that I wanted to play for Somerset but it never quite came about so now things have come full circle. It’s a nice place for me to be finishing my career in England.
Do you know any of the current Somerset squad?
I know a lot of them actually. You tend to get to know the other guys when you play against them and with the links to North Devon I have a bit of an affinity for the area and the Club. I’m pretty close to Jim Allenby, I know Tim Groenewald from our time at Derbyshire and the Overton’s father captained me when I was at North Devon so I know quite a few of them.
When can we expect to see you for the first time at the County Ground?
I’m hoping that I will be over there by March.
You’ve played at Taunton on a number of occasions for the opposition, it can be quite an intimidating venue for visiting teams can’t it?
Traditionally it’s been a good wicket to bat on but I’ve played there when it has done quite a bit too. I used to love having tussles with Andy Caddick down there. I’ve been pretty successful at Taunton in the past and I’m really hoping that that continues!
What can the Somerset supporters expect from you both on and off the field in 2016?
I think I’m the type of character who will give everything that I can and I want this side to be successful. That’s what you play for and strive for as you get older. I’d like to make a difference and help the Club to be successful. I’ll give everything I can and be exceptionally competitive. I also want to be able to provide leadership and help in the development of some of the young guys at the Club. That kind of thing is really important. There’s a good blend of youth and experience in the squad and I think that is exactly what you need to be a successful side.
Do you set yourself any particular goals during the season?
I’m not really one for sitting down and setting out how many runs I have to score. As far as I am concerned it is all about maintaining standards, having that hunger and fighting every day. In County Cricket you have to give everything every day. With the amount of cricket that you play it would be easy to take your foot off the gas every now and then but that’s not in my nature.
Do you have a message for the Somerset supporters?
I’m sure there will be some very good days for us down at Taunton this coming year and I hope that this is going to be a successful season for us all.
You’re the latest in a line of high profile Australians to play for Somerset. Jamie Cox, Ricky Ponting and Justin Langer have all worn the Wyvern not to mention Steve Waugh. Does that bring added pressure?
There’s always pressure as an overseas player and I’ve dealt with a fair bit of pressure in the last few years. Those are some great names and I’m honoured to have been chosen to be the overseas player for Somerset in 2016. I’ll be doing my best to live up to the standards set by those who have gone before.
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