Rogers is back at Taunton to help good times roll
CHRIS ROGERS, the man who led Somerset to within four points of a maiden County Championship title last summer, is returning to the county in a new role as batting coach and player mentor.
The club hopes Rogers’ presence will inspire the players to go one better this season and maintain the aggressive, positive brand of cricket they played in 2016.
Rogers, who retired from playing after scoring centuries in both innings of Somerset’s final match of the season last September, is keen to develop a new career in coaching.
He is due to rejoin the club for four months from the beginning of March, subject to his visa application being granted.
Director of Cricket Matt Maynard told The Cricket Paper: “Chris fitted in really well last year. The players are hugely enthused and excited about what he’s going to bring. The style of cricket we played last year, the stamp of that on the field was a lot down to Chris.
“If there was any part of a game where Chris was unsure of which option to take, he always took the positive route and the positive option.
“The guys will see Chris and remember the way he played, how disciplined we were with the ball, how athletic we were in the field, how passionate we were about saving those singles in four-day cricket and then how proactive we were as a batting group. Just having Chris there will be a subliminal reminder of that.
“He loves the game, he’s got a great knowledge of it both technically and tactically, and he just appears ideally suited to becoming a real top coach. As part of a thank you for everything he did for us last year as well as an understanding of the club and the culture of the club, and to give him a little exposure to coaching, we agreed to invite him back to apply for the position and he was obviously the outstanding candidate for it.”
As well as offering continuity, Rogers will also offer support to his successor as captain, opener Tom Abell, who is taking over at the age of 22.
“It’s going to be important for Tom to use Chris as much as he wants. He’s obviously got a lot of good senior players in the team, as well as the players of his own generation, and so there will be a lot of advice for him out there. But every now and then it will be nice to have a pair of eyes and ears that are off the pitch and that’s what Chris can offer Tom, plus the other young batsmen on the staff will be really important.”
Maynard outlined what the new role as mentor would involve: “Talking to the guys about the game, about the tactical aspects, about how to cope with pressure, how you change gears through the different formats and also throughout an innings in whichever format. There’s so many areas that he can offer that mentorship to the players.
“Also to the bowlers. On this particular wicket, where would he prefer the ball to be bowled to him as a batsman and pass on that advice as well back to the bowlers, so I’m really excited about the prospect.
“He’s a great lad, he fitted in superbly, he’s hugely respected and did a fantastic job for us.
“I’m sure that will continue in his new role.”
Regarding his return, Rogers said:“Last year Matt and I floated the idea of coming back in a coaching capacity if I did retire and I’m greatly appreciative that he and the club have given me this opportunity to work with the players and develop my own skills. Coaching is something I feel passionate about as well as giving back to the game and I couldn’t think of a better place to start than at Somerset and learning from the staff there.
“The club made some significant strides last year, and hopefully I can help Somerset achieve some silverware in 2017.”
Mentor: Chris Rogers starred for Somerset on the pitch last season – and now has a big role to play off it