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The numbers don’t lie. In any other era, Chris Rogers would in all likelihood be a Test legend by now, up there with the great top-order toilers to have donned a baggy green.

Yet despite being Mr Consistent for Western Australia and Victoria in the Sheffield Shield, the 35-year-old has just one cap for the national side. 

If he’s overlooked again for the upcoming Ashes series, his international record at his career’s end will read: one Test, 19 runs at an average of 9.5.

His teammates at Middlesex know a different story, though.

Having played impressively for five previous counties, perhaps Rogers’ most significant contribution has been as the captain of Middlesex, who play their first home game of season 2013 at Lord’s this week.

The side’s turn of fortune coincided with the arrival of the Sydney-born journeyman in 2011. First they won promotion to Division One. Last year, they finished third, the club’s best finish since 1995. This year, they’re considered by many to be contenders for the title.

“I’m quite excited about the year,” said Rogers before last week’s season opener at Trent Bridge. “We finished off well last year and showed we’ve got a good side. It’s going to come down now to putting good performances on the board.” 

The left-hander would be the last to say, with his plucky, no fuss persona at the crease much the same off it, but a massive part of his young side’s success last year was thanks to him.

Club coach Richard Scott called on his players last week to follow the skipper’s lead after he was the only batsman to make over 1000 runs (a feat he’s achieved six times in county cricket) and average over 40 runs in 2012. 

“Chris is a consistent performer, day in, day out, and it’s up to the rest of them to show what they can do,” Scott said.

While flattered, Rogers is sure his back-up is on the way.

“There are a lot of guys developing their game here, and are quite inexperienced,” he tells TNT. “But they’ve all got another year under their belt and if a few can have a big season, and with our pace attack [which includes Tim Murtagh, Toby Roland-Jones, Corey Collymore, Gareth Berg and Steven Finn when he’s not with England], we can do well.”

After 15 years in the top domestic leagues in Australia and England, Rogers has an impressive average a whisker from 50.

Last week, with 50 in the first innings against Nottingham, he passed the 19,000-run mark.

Remarkably, his numbers on Aussie pitches and in England’s County Championship are much the same.

“It’s tough to compare, both have their own challenges,” he says of the ever-present comparison of the two.

“The wickets can be difficult in their own right and they’re always hard cricket. The older guys say Sheffield Shield is harder, but my performances are about the same in both, so it might be on a par now.”

A gun for hire in both countries, the guy nicknamed ‘Buck’ will of course not label one better than the other.

But his form on English soil is impossible for Australia’s selectors to ignore, especially with the national team’s top order at its lowest ebb for decades (Michael Clarke excepted).


Above average: Aussie batsman Chris 'Buck' Rogers is a star for Middlesex without his name in lights
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