The emergence of Nick Gubbins was the main reason Chris Rogers did not return to Middlesex this summer, according to Angus Fraser.
Rogers scored 14 centuries averaging a touch over 50 in four seasons of County Championship cricket with the tenants of Lord’s, leaving many to hope he would resume duties at the home of cricket after retiring from Test duty with Australia following last year’s Ashes series.
However, it was his fellow Aussie Adam Voges, who captained Middlesex for some of the 2015 campaign in Rogers’ absence, who made the return journey to NW8 instead.
According to the county’s director of cricket Fraser, it was the desire to establish the promising Gubbins at the top of the order which proved the decisive factor in the north London side’s thinking, not as some may have felt another nod towards white-ball thinking.
“Recruiting Adam Voges instead of Chris Rogers was more to do with our view of Nick Gubbins to be fair,” he said.
“Nick put in some impressive performances for us last year and but for injuring his foot would have played 10 or 11 championship matches.
“You want a young cricketer like that who we think has got real potential to have an opportunity.
“If we’d brought Chris Rogers back we’d have Sam Robson, Nick Compton and Dawid Malan and Nick would suddenly be coming in at five.
“So we want to get Nick going and establish him as a high quality cricketer and Adam fits in very well at five and captaining the side.”
Richmond-born Gubbins has set about justifying Fraser’s faith with two half centuries in his first three red-ball innings this term, the second an aggressive 60 in the first innings of the game with Durham.
However, given Fraser’s recent insistence Middlesex have to address their woeful white-ball record, it is perhaps the impact the 22-year-old left-hander made in one-day cricket in 2015 which persuaded him he could afford to let Rogers join rivals Somerset.
Gubbins, in what was his first season with the county since completing his Geography degree at Leeds University, made one hundred and two half-centuries in six innings of the 50-over Royal London Cup to average 56.5, significantly higher than Rogers achieved in the same format in his last two years inside the Grace Gates.
So great player as Fraser concedes Rogers still is, Gubbins’ potential and ability to bring balance across all formats offered Middlesex more flexibility
“Chris Rogers had been a magnificent player for us, arguably one of the best overseas players Middlesex has had, but he was essentially a red-ball performer, added Fraser.
“The cricketers we are picking now are to bolster the white-ball game.”