County news August 3, 2013

Robson qualification boost for England

25

England may have struck an important blow in future Ashes series after Sam Robson qualified to represent England.

Robson, the Australian-born opening batsman, is currently the leading run scorer in Division One of the County Championship and is considered one of the brightest batting prospects in England or Australia.

A right-handed opening batsman much in the style of Mike Atherton, it had been thought that Robson would qualify for England early in 2014 but his status was recently reviewed by Middlesex and the ECB have confirmed he is now eligible to play for England or England Lions in all formats.

He was born in New South Wales and represented Australia Under-19s but, taking advantage of a UK passport courtesy of his Nottingham-born mother, he moved to England as a teenager in 2008 and has now completed the requisite residency period.

Now aged 24, Robson has become a regular at the top of the order in the Middlesex team and must be considered a candidate for the Test side. While England's top three appears settled, Robson's temperament and technique combined with his heavy run scoring may prove hard to ignore.

While Robson has always been somewhat equivocal about his allegiances - he has dismissed talk of a call-up to either England or Australia as "unrealistic" and suggested he would cross that bridge when he came to it - he is committed to Middlesex and declined opportunities to play first-class cricket in Australia. His status as an England-qualified player will enable Middlesex to gain performance-related fee payments from the ECB each time he represents them.

"England is where it is at for me," Robson told ESPNcricinfo earlier this season. "I came to London as soon as I finished school. I love living here and I love playing for Middlesex. There have been opportunities to play first-class cricket in Australia but it would jeopardise my future with Middlesex and I can't do that." Robson would have to play as an overseas player if he represented an Australian state in first-class cricket.

His brother, 21-year-old Angus Robson, is also involved in the county system and is currently playing second XI cricket for Leicestershire. Their father, Jim, played second XI cricket for Worcestershire in 1979.

Robson's qualification does not rule him out of playing for Australia and, until he actually represents a full England side, he will remain eligible for the nation of his birth. It is believed that Australia's selectors have followed his progress closely but were only recently made fully aware of his eligibility - an oversight considering his background in the Under-19 team - and have done little to compete with the opportunities offered by county cricket.

That will be a concern to Cricket Australia. In a country that is currently struggling to produce batsmen who thrive on occupying the crease for long periods of time, losing a player of Robson's calibre to the old enemy may create a certain amount of soul searching.

But while the top Australian players earn more than their England counterparts, normal county players enjoy far more playing opportunities in England and greater job security. Had he remained in Australia, Robson may have struggled to break into his Shield team or develop his career so quickly.

The 18-year-old Sam Hain, who has been described as the best young batting talent in Australia, has also utilised his UK passport to sign a contract with Warwickshire.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shaggy076 on August 7, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    browners76 - Rogers, Hussey D and Klinger all averaging significantly more in county cricket than they are in sheffield shield. Why would Robson buck this trend?

  • browners76 on August 6, 2013, 2:18 GMT

    Equivalent of a shield average of 35? I think you've been on the smelling salts Jonesy. The quality of shield batting is dire. He would av 50+ if he played in Australia.

  • _Australian_ on August 5, 2013, 11:12 GMT

    I doubt he will get a run for either country. At his age there are to many ahead of him for both nations. He has stated he wants to play for England purely because he can earn more coin in county cricket. Does not have the passion for a baggy green so should not be considered for one.

  • ChewtonMendip on August 5, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    Robson was born in Australia, brought up in Australia, educated in Australia, learn to play cricket in Australia and played for Australia U-19s. I would say that makes him..........Australian. Doesn't matter where his mum was born. Doesn't matter that he can get his hands on a British passport. It's embarrassing being an England fan these days with the likes of Pietersen, Trott, Kieswetter playing in an England shirt. And next, Robson, Ballance.... Can't we just have an England team made up of people brought up in England, whose affinity is with England. Isn't that the whole point of it being the England team, that is it a team of blokes from England?

  • jonesy2 on August 5, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    just looked at his record. FC average of 41? that's the equivalent of a shield average of about 35. bahaha hes not even very good and already 24. wouldn't even on the radar for a shield side.

  • DylanBrah on August 5, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    No surprises here. England have been pinching other country's talent for years. Why develop young batsmen when you can get other countries to do it for you!

  • xtrafalgarx on August 5, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    Don't need him, he clearly stated he wants to play for England.

  • Shaggy076 on August 5, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    I think to even qualify for Australia you have to play in the Sheffield Shield competition. This is the premier competition in Australia and to pick outside that would devalue it and unless Robson wants to put in the hard yards in Australia to try and get a game, why would Australia worry about him.

  • Kolpak1989 on August 5, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    "A right hand batsman in the style of Mike Atherton." Pfft, England can have him then!

  • Patchmaster on August 5, 2013, 2:36 GMT

    Why on earth did they go for Rogers, when this guy was available ? Why not blood this youngster in (considering he's already used to ENG conditions)......very short term attitude.

  • Shaggy076 on August 7, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    browners76 - Rogers, Hussey D and Klinger all averaging significantly more in county cricket than they are in sheffield shield. Why would Robson buck this trend?

  • browners76 on August 6, 2013, 2:18 GMT

    Equivalent of a shield average of 35? I think you've been on the smelling salts Jonesy. The quality of shield batting is dire. He would av 50+ if he played in Australia.

  • _Australian_ on August 5, 2013, 11:12 GMT

    I doubt he will get a run for either country. At his age there are to many ahead of him for both nations. He has stated he wants to play for England purely because he can earn more coin in county cricket. Does not have the passion for a baggy green so should not be considered for one.

  • ChewtonMendip on August 5, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    Robson was born in Australia, brought up in Australia, educated in Australia, learn to play cricket in Australia and played for Australia U-19s. I would say that makes him..........Australian. Doesn't matter where his mum was born. Doesn't matter that he can get his hands on a British passport. It's embarrassing being an England fan these days with the likes of Pietersen, Trott, Kieswetter playing in an England shirt. And next, Robson, Ballance.... Can't we just have an England team made up of people brought up in England, whose affinity is with England. Isn't that the whole point of it being the England team, that is it a team of blokes from England?

  • jonesy2 on August 5, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    just looked at his record. FC average of 41? that's the equivalent of a shield average of about 35. bahaha hes not even very good and already 24. wouldn't even on the radar for a shield side.

  • DylanBrah on August 5, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    No surprises here. England have been pinching other country's talent for years. Why develop young batsmen when you can get other countries to do it for you!

  • xtrafalgarx on August 5, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    Don't need him, he clearly stated he wants to play for England.

  • Shaggy076 on August 5, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    I think to even qualify for Australia you have to play in the Sheffield Shield competition. This is the premier competition in Australia and to pick outside that would devalue it and unless Robson wants to put in the hard yards in Australia to try and get a game, why would Australia worry about him.

  • Kolpak1989 on August 5, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    "A right hand batsman in the style of Mike Atherton." Pfft, England can have him then!

  • Patchmaster on August 5, 2013, 2:36 GMT

    Why on earth did they go for Rogers, when this guy was available ? Why not blood this youngster in (considering he's already used to ENG conditions)......very short term attitude.

  • Rowayton on August 5, 2013, 2:09 GMT

    To describe Robson's Australian birth qualification as accidental is ludicrous. His dad is Australian born and was/is a well known figure around Sydney grade cricket for many years. Still, young Robson can play for whoever he wants. With any luck, he may turn out to be as good as Jason Gallian. So where does this leave Gary Ballance - born in Zimbabwe, played for Zimbabwe Under 19s, played recent domestic first class cricket in Zimbabwe. Or do England vary the rules to suit each case?

  • on August 5, 2013, 1:40 GMT

    Australia don't need sam robson. we have some good young batsmen in Australian domestic cricket like nic maddinson, Jordan silk, joe burns and William bosisto. ben McDermott and jake doran are future stars too. they play for u 19 cricket team.

  • on August 5, 2013, 1:23 GMT

    He's played under 19s for Australia. That should preclude hime from playing for any other country especially as he was an adult. Cricket in England is becoming a joke with their selecting their League of Nations: South African, Irish, West Indians and Australians. No problems with players who have come over as children like Prior and Straus but the other players couldn't hack in their own countries so off to England to play for the Old Dart.

  • Chris_P on August 5, 2013, 1:09 GMT

    He is mature enough to decide for himself & the blunt fact is that had he stayed, he would have struggled to get into the NSW side. Reviewing the English FC batting stats, I see him high up there, but I also see guys like Brendan Nash, Michael Klinger also up there & while talented are nowhere near the top run scorers down under, with Nash probably struggling to get into any side. The problem with Central Contracts is that the test players are rested far more often thereby reducing their participation against these players & giving out, if not false stats, certainly stats scored under much easier conditions that days gone by when test players played first class cricket a lot more often. Robson is a good steady player, he is not special though, but good luck to him with whatever direction he chooses to travel.

  • MinusZero on August 5, 2013, 0:04 GMT

    Cant blame him for choosing England. Australian cricket is such a boys club.If you arent in with the superiors, you have no chance of being selected. Why else would Watson keep getting selected unless something is going on in the background?

  • Lmaotsetung on August 4, 2013, 23:33 GMT

    Getting a bit crowded for the opening slot in the England team. What if Alex Lees takes the necessary step forward in the next couple of years? Where do they find room for these youngsters assuming Trott/Bell/Cook plays for another 4-5 years?

  • on August 4, 2013, 23:25 GMT

    The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence or in this case the other side of the world. Aussies defecting to England all because they can't break into the state side because it is damn hard and with more Counties in England it presents more opportunities for young players to develop their talent. Adam and Ben Hollioake were both Australia born but played for England.

  • SirViv1973 on August 4, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    @Nicholasmayo, I don't think being offered a state contract would b enough at this stage. I think if aus want him back they would have to name him in the test side, & even then he could end up declining. He's made it clear hes settled in London.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 4, 2013, 17:41 GMT

    The Aussies had an opportunity, and that is to call him up instead of rogers thus taken a longer term view on the openers before the series started, they didnt thier loss.

    In the end its Robsons choice who he plays for as he has dual nationality, through one parent and hes clearly stated he wants to play for england.

  • CricketingStargazer on August 4, 2013, 17:24 GMT

    Good for Sam Robson. His loyalties are clear and his Australian birth was just accidental. Get him into the Lions as fast as possible before Australia try to poach him. He is a fantastic prospect.

  • njr1330 on August 4, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    Nationally is becoming harder and harder to define, especially as between England and Australia. At Lancashire, the keeper Jamie Haynes was always regarded as Australian, even though he was born in Gloucester; whereas Paul Horton is regarded as English, although he was born in Sydney.

  • shillingsworth on August 4, 2013, 12:09 GMT

    Simple resolution to this problem surely - if you've played for a test country at U19 level, that's the only country you're qualified for.

  • on August 4, 2013, 11:45 GMT

    If Robson intends to target England then he may wish to get some experience batting at No. 3 and look to be Trott's long term replacement as I don't see England giving up on Root/Cook anytime soon even if one lost form for a while.

    If I were part of the Australian set up I would be finding him a State side opening position and really look after him. I know talking a state contract means he can't play county cricket as a domestic player so the Offer from Aus would have to be good and If he really is the future of Aus batting then surely he is worth an overseas place from a County

  • lankymanky on August 4, 2013, 10:54 GMT

    If this was on the other foot and good young English cricketers were moving abroad and becoming eligible for Australia there would be uproar that the county system was letting the national team down. What are Cricket Australia doing about this?? I know young South Africans have been doing the same thing for a while now but they seam to have an abundance of young talented players ready for the test arena whereas you wonder where Australia will be in 10 years time. At least they will have the Big Bash!!

  • markatnotts on August 4, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    I do love these stories. They are guaranteed to get the usual suspects frothing at the mouth. It is so funny to see the contradictions people make as well. Recently we have had people saying Prior can't play for England as he wasn't born here, and people like Darren Pattinson can't play for England even though he ras born here.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • markatnotts on August 4, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    I do love these stories. They are guaranteed to get the usual suspects frothing at the mouth. It is so funny to see the contradictions people make as well. Recently we have had people saying Prior can't play for England as he wasn't born here, and people like Darren Pattinson can't play for England even though he ras born here.

  • lankymanky on August 4, 2013, 10:54 GMT

    If this was on the other foot and good young English cricketers were moving abroad and becoming eligible for Australia there would be uproar that the county system was letting the national team down. What are Cricket Australia doing about this?? I know young South Africans have been doing the same thing for a while now but they seam to have an abundance of young talented players ready for the test arena whereas you wonder where Australia will be in 10 years time. At least they will have the Big Bash!!

  • on August 4, 2013, 11:45 GMT

    If Robson intends to target England then he may wish to get some experience batting at No. 3 and look to be Trott's long term replacement as I don't see England giving up on Root/Cook anytime soon even if one lost form for a while.

    If I were part of the Australian set up I would be finding him a State side opening position and really look after him. I know talking a state contract means he can't play county cricket as a domestic player so the Offer from Aus would have to be good and If he really is the future of Aus batting then surely he is worth an overseas place from a County

  • shillingsworth on August 4, 2013, 12:09 GMT

    Simple resolution to this problem surely - if you've played for a test country at U19 level, that's the only country you're qualified for.

  • njr1330 on August 4, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    Nationally is becoming harder and harder to define, especially as between England and Australia. At Lancashire, the keeper Jamie Haynes was always regarded as Australian, even though he was born in Gloucester; whereas Paul Horton is regarded as English, although he was born in Sydney.

  • CricketingStargazer on August 4, 2013, 17:24 GMT

    Good for Sam Robson. His loyalties are clear and his Australian birth was just accidental. Get him into the Lions as fast as possible before Australia try to poach him. He is a fantastic prospect.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 4, 2013, 17:41 GMT

    The Aussies had an opportunity, and that is to call him up instead of rogers thus taken a longer term view on the openers before the series started, they didnt thier loss.

    In the end its Robsons choice who he plays for as he has dual nationality, through one parent and hes clearly stated he wants to play for england.

  • SirViv1973 on August 4, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    @Nicholasmayo, I don't think being offered a state contract would b enough at this stage. I think if aus want him back they would have to name him in the test side, & even then he could end up declining. He's made it clear hes settled in London.

  • on August 4, 2013, 23:25 GMT

    The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence or in this case the other side of the world. Aussies defecting to England all because they can't break into the state side because it is damn hard and with more Counties in England it presents more opportunities for young players to develop their talent. Adam and Ben Hollioake were both Australia born but played for England.

  • Lmaotsetung on August 4, 2013, 23:33 GMT

    Getting a bit crowded for the opening slot in the England team. What if Alex Lees takes the necessary step forward in the next couple of years? Where do they find room for these youngsters assuming Trott/Bell/Cook plays for another 4-5 years?