Rogers walks out on Western Australia
Chris Rogers, the opening batsman who made his Test debut in January, has walked out on Western Australia and will continue his career with either Victoria, Queensland or South Australia. Rogers said he had become "stale" in Perth and the possibility of captaining another state and getting regular one-day action were factors in his decision to leave.
"I would like to captain and I don't think it will happen in Western Australia," Rogers told the West Australian. "South Australia have offered the captaincy and that would be one of the challenges of going there.
"I have been disappointed with decisions made by the WACA [Western Australian Cricket Association], particularly my exclusion from the one-day team, but I understand that other people have differing opinions to mine. For me to push forward rather than worry about possible future frustrations, I believe I must seek new challenges elsewhere to improve myself as a cricketer and a person."
Rogers, who holds a Cricket Australia contract, was used in only two FR Cup games in 2007-08 and scored 18 and 12. However, he remained one of Western Australia's leading Pura Cup batsmen and made 744 runs at 43.76. He played his first Test against India at the WACA in January but he felt his chances of pushing for further international action would be better in another state.
"I have become stale in Perth and things have happened this year that have made me quite frustrated," Rogers said. "But now I am only worried about trying to play for Australia and what's best for me and at this moment I think it is best to leave and play somewhere else."
A statement released by the WACA on Monday said Rogers was moving to Victoria, however the batsman said his decision was still not made. He had been focusing on Queensland and South Australia before a late offer came in from the Bushrangers, which clouded his options.
Tom Moody, the Western Australia coach, said he believed Rogers, 30, was going to Victoria, which would be a strange move if he was after the captaincy as Cameron White, 24, is well entrenched in that role and led the Bushrangers to all three domestic finals in 2007-08. "He is probably keeping his cards close to his chest," Moody told the Australian.
"At the end of the day, the indication I got was that he was going to Victoria. I don't think he will be getting a leadership opportunity if he is going where I think he is going because the captain at the moment has been captain for a few years and has a few years left to go."
On the other hand, leading the struggling South Australia might be a daunting task. However, the Redbacks are also chasing James Hopes, the Queensland allrounder, and if they secured the pair and retained their leading wicket-taker from last season, Ryan Harris, who is in talks with the Warriors, the side could expect a more successful 2008-09.
Graeme Wood, the WACA chief executive, said in a tersely-worded statement that the team was disappointed Rogers was leaving the state that had helped build him into an international player. "The Warriors team is in the best position it has been for a number of years to challenge for sustained success in all formats of interstate competition," Wood said.
"We are very disappointed that Chris has chosen to continue his career elsewhere. It is bewildering that Chris has chosen to walk away from playing regularly at the WACA ground, a ground where he has had so much success as a player on one of the best pitches in Australia."
Rogers topped the Pura Cup run tally in 2006-07 with 1202 runs at 70.70. That also earned him a Cricket Australia contract, which actually made it harder for the Warriors to retain him as they had no capacity to offer him more money.